Volume XII, Issue 5: August 9, 2013


Sunrisers at Work!

A group of Sunrisers met at Alchemy Construction’s warehouse to stain and seal folding bookcases for “Books for Newborns”, a project that our Community Service Committee has been working on in conjunction with the Nurse Family Partnership. The Committee arranged to have 20 bookcases built by woodworking students at McKinleyville Middle School, and the completed bookcases (each with a supply of children’s books) will be distributed to local families that might otherwise lack reading materials for their children.

Lara Mowery of the North Bay Rotaract Club reminded us that her group is planning to re-charter by the end of the year. She wants us to keep an eye out for potential members. Remember, the age range is from 18 to 30, and they should be the type of people who would make good Rotarians. Keep an eye out, and take them to a Rotaract meeting – the North Bay Club meets on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month at the Village Pantry in McKinleyville.

We had two very special guests last week – America and Erica Mayeya, the wife and daughter of our former Inbound Exchange Student from Mexico, Mauricio Mayeya. Welcome!

If you are wearing your Rotary pin on Wednesday, August 21st, you’ll get into the Humboldt County Fair at no charge! While you are enjoying the festivities that evening, for only $20, you can also partake of a special dinner featuring a barbecued steak with oysters, prepared by the Ferndale Rotary Club.

It’s not too late to participate in the Polio Immunization Days in West Africa. For an unforgettable experience in Lome, Togo, check with President Jessica.

Shamelessly stolen from the Lost Coast Outpost

If you’re looking for an World Community Service opportunity that’s a bit closer to home, consider taking part in one of the Work Weeks offered by Project Amigo in Colima, Mexico. President Jessica can hook you up on that one, too!

With two speakers last week, we had to forgo our regular Recognitions segment. However, President Jessica couldn’t let another week pass without recognizing Amy Bohner. Amy’s husband Steve was lauded as the area’s top drummer by participants in the Lost Coast Outpost’s “Humboldt Approved” poll.

Returned from Trieste
Colin Swenson spent the past year representing Our Club (and all of the US) as our Outbound Exchange Student to Trieste, Italy. Colin noted that Trieste is in the northeastern corner of Italy, an area tucked away at the northern point of the Adriatic Sea, close to the Slovenian border.

The Big Cheese (Literally!)

Colin said that he took a lot of photos during his Exchange year. One of his favorites is the one at left of a block of Parmesan cheese.

He provided many interesting facts about Trieste. For example, it boasts one of the largest sailing regattas in the world – the Barcolana regatta, also known as the Autumn Cup.

Sailing is dependent upon the wind, of course, and there is a lot of it in and around Trieste. Colin said that the locals have specific names for at least five kinds of winds. For example, the bora is a winter wind that blows from the northeast.

Colin had an interesting introduction to the differences between the US and his host city. On his first day, he woke to see his younger host brother sitting on the porch smoking a cigarette. That didn’t last long – the boy soon rode off on his motorcycle, popping a wheelie as he went.

Colin benefited from his location, as he was able to do quite a bit of traveling. He attended a Rotary meeting in Austria, traveled to Central Italy with his host father, visited Croatia, and toured a cave in Slovenia. In March, Colin participated in the First Rotary Youth Peace Conference – a six-day gathering near Tel Aviv, Israel. He said so many young people from so many different cultures discussing peace made them all more aware and respectful of one another.

Colin said that he is much more competent in Italian now. He said that at Arcata High, he took many art classes. However, in Trieste, the curriculum was more varied, and his schedule included 11 academic classes. He said that the teachers there “cut me a lot of slack”, due to his relative unfamiliarity with the language.

Colin also told us that most of the schools in the area are very poor. In fact, his was one of the few that provided toilet paper.

He concluded by reminding us that Rotary Youth Exchange is a “really important program”, and he thanked us for the opportunity.

More About Humboldt’s Economic Health
Last week, Sunriser and Humboldt County Economic Development Coordinator Jacqueline Debets provided additional good economic news about our county. The previous week, Dennis Mullins of the California EDD provided a feast for numbers fans, providing several indications that Humboldt County was better able to weather the recent recession than its neighbors. Jacqueline talked about the plan to continue the progress.

Part of the solution is to consider the economic “story” we tell about our area. If we continue to focus on the old story – the decline of the timber and fishing industries, the lack of jobs in our area, the exodus of young people from the county, and the perception that ours is a retirement community. The old story discouraged investment and encouraged our young people to leave the area. It also isn’t true. As Dennis pointed out the previous week, Humboldt County is experiencing a boom in entrepreneurship. And, as Jacqueline pointed out, entrepreneurs drive economic growth.

So what industries are growing in Humboldt County?

  • Diversified Health Care – Our largest “Target of Opportunity” industry, employing close to 12,000 people in our county.
  • Specialty Foo, Flowers, and Beverages – The second largest target industry, with over 9,300 jobs.
  • Building and Systems Construction – Many of our local construction companies bid on and win contracts throughout the state and the nation, exporting construction services while importing funds.
  • Investment Support Services – This knowledge-based industry is projected to add 1,000 jobs over the next six years. That figure is in addition to the 2,500 Humboldt County residents already working in this field.
  • Management and Innovation Services – This fast-growing knowledge-based field includes telecommunications and information services firms, and provides business-to-business technical and professional services. 
  • Niche Manufacturing – The firms in this sector include Fire & Light, Kokatat, Jessicurl, Wing Inflatables, and Holly Yashi. Wages for niche manufacturing jobs in this county are 42% higher than the regional average.
  • Forest Products – Many of the market leaders in this industry are based here, and have very long term investments in their forest lands.
  • Tourism – This industry is more concentrated in Humboldt County than in the state as a whole … by a factor of four! Since California is an international tourist destination, this is an important point.

Jacqueline closed by asking us to be “proud of our past … [but to] look to our future”. We can be encouraged by what we have learned about our economic strengths, and we can share our enthusiasm for Humboldt County.