Volume XIII, Issue 22: December 12, 2014

On The Calendar
December 19 – Our annual visit from the Arcata High School Madrigal Choir! Bring your children and significant others!
December 26 & January 2 – We are dark (no meetings)
December 31 – “Light Up The New Year” with the Fortuna Sunrise Rotary at the River Lodge
January 9th – First meeting of 2015!! Don’t miss it!! George Cavinta will discuss drugs in Humboldt County.
January 9th – RISE EVENT – Arts Arcata stroll, with a pre-party at Romi’s, starting at 5:15 pm
January 31st – AHS College & Career Center Pancake Breakfast at the D Street Neighborhood Center – 8 to 11 am

President Barbara said that a bunch of Sunrisers showed up on the previous Saturday evening to sing carols in Old Town Eureka for Arts Alive. She thanked Ian Schatz for organizing the mini-parade, and Bob Johnson for arranging for three Sunriser guitarists to accompany the group as it wandered through the streets. We had a great time!

District Governor Elect Erin Dunn visited us last Friday to invite us to Fortuna Sunrise Rotary’s “Light Up The New Year” party at the River Lodge on New Year’s Eve. The event will be a fundraiser for the great things that the Fortuna Sunrisers do in their community and beyond. There will be live music (the Delta Nationals), hors d’oeuvres, and lots of fun.

Somebody got married!! Scott Heller and Robin Meiggs tied the knot on November 28th in Maui! Scott said that he has informed the Membership Committee that he is changing his name to “Mister Coach Meiggs”. Ninety guests were witness to the event, including Sunrisers Bob Johnson and Jessica McKnight. The events of the day included two marriages and a couple of family reunions. Since Robin is an ordained minister, she performed the other wedding ceremony – her brother’s! The week’s festivities included a snorkel tour, a luau, and a potluck Thanksgiving feast. President Barbara remarked that she heard that it was a great wedding party, and Scott replied, “It’s the best one I’ve been to!”


Do I hear an “Awww”?

Special Daze
December 2nd was the 19th anniversary for Your Editor and his lovely wife Shelley. That evening, we went out for a quick dinner, but the real celebration came that Saturday. Although Shelley is a native of Arcata, and I have lived here for a couple of decades plus, neither of us had been to Larrupin’s – the anniversary venue for so many Sunrisers. That’s where we went, despite the driving rain. We had a lovely dinner and toasted our years together.

November 16th was John Gullam’s birthday, and when President Barbara asked if he remembered what he did, he said no. “Something happened,” he told us, “Uh, yeah … I went bungee-jumping and I turned 49.”

Jessica McKnight’s birthday was December 5th, and she said that she and her husband James were still in Hawaii. (They were visiting Maui for Thanksgiving and somebody’s wedding.) Since they had been to Kauai and the Big Island on a previous trip, they decided to explore Oahu for a few days, which included Jessica’s birthday. They rented a SmartCar and drove toward the north side of the island, hoping to see some surfing. As they got close, the traffic became heavy. They found a parking space that only a SmartCar would fit into, and walked toward the center of attraction. Jessica and James found themselves at the Van’s World Cup of Surfing! They got to see the semifinals and the finals, both live and on the “ginormous” big screen TV on the beach.

Dustin Littlefield celebrated his birthday at last week’s meeting! He told us that he had started his day with a game of racquetball – before Rotary! He planned to continue his celebration by working security at that evening’s AIBT. Ya gotta love a guy who knows how to party!

A Story From the Financial Assistance Committee
Susan Jansson co-chairs the Financial Assistance Committee, and she told us one of the ways our Club helped make a difference. The committee recently heard about Caleb, an eighth-grader at Pacific Union School. He is being raised by a single mother, and he helps out at school activities. We were asked for help by the parent of a fellow student when it became apparent that there was no way he would be able to afford to go with a group of his classmates on a trip to Washington, D.C.

One-third of the needed funds were provided by the committee, and the rest came from Sunrisers Matt Babich and Rob McBeth. Susan said that she went to the school to take Caleb the check. She told us that she spoke with the Vice-Principal, who called Caleb into his office. When Susan told him that the Arcata Sunrise Rotary wanted to pay for his trip to Washington, “With a half-smile on his face,” Susan related, “he said, ‘Is this for real?'” They assured him that it was. He thanked Susan, and when she turned to look at the Vice-Principal, who was crying. “It was so wonderful,” Susan continued, “to see [Caleb’s] joy.”

Recognition: Gregg Foster
Karen Burgesser used “my kind-of-angry voice so you can hear me”, as she recognized Gregg Foster. She noted that some Sunrisers may not know that Gregg is a former President of Our Club – he served from 1999 to 2000. It was “about the time I joined Rotary,” she said, “I’m still here, and Gregg’s back!”

Karen told us that Gregg’s Facebook page contains almost 500 pictures. She put them into categories: Gregg the Snappy Dresser, Family, Work, Community Involvement, and Things Gregg Likes To Do.

Karen interviewed Gregg to help us get to know him better, and her first question was, “Where were you raised?” He responded, “I was born in beautiful Garberville, California, and raised in Miranda.” He went to South Fork High School, then attended UC Davis. At Davis, Gregg was involved in many extra-curricular activities.

Gregg worked for a statewide nonprofit in Sacramento, then he worked in a consulting firm, also in the state capital. In the latter role, he was able to travel “all over the state”. In 1991, he moved to Arcata to work with Gainer and Associates. He worked with Maggie Gainer until 1996, when he moved to the Humboldt Area Foundation, where he and former Sunriser Kathy Moxon ran an economic development program. Kathy served as Gregg’s Rotary sponsor.

Gregg moved to Ferndale in 1997. Karen asked about his home, saying,”I know that you just refurbished a house.” “I wouldn’t call it ‘refurbished’,” he said. “It’s in a state of arrested decay.” In fact, that morning, Gregg discovered water running down along one wall. “Okay – we’ll do the roof this year.”

Gregg has two sons. “Riley was born,” he said, “the month that I joined [Rotary] … he’s 19 now and an inch taller than me. And Will is 15.” Riley is a student at College of the Redwoods, and Will attends Ferndale High School.

Karen told Gregg that she used to see him often in Old Town Eureka, when he worked for the Redwood Region Economic Development Corporation (RREDC). He said that he worked there twice – an eight-year stint, then two years at KHUM, and a second “term” at RREDC, before moving to his present position as a Vice President/Commercial Relationship Manager with Redwood Capital Bank.

Terri and Gregg

In his spare time, Gregg serves as the President of the St. Joseph Hospital Foundation Board, and he is a member of the Humboldt County Aviation Advisory Committee. Karen said that she doesn’t see Gregg as having any “down time”, so she asked what his most memorable vacation was. He said that he takes a week each year (“and sometimes two”). But his most memorable vacation will probably be the trip to Thailand that he has planned for January.

The recognition wound up with Foundation Chair Terri Clark presenting Gregg as our newest Paul Harris Fellow. “Finally,” he said. “Pretty good for a Red Badge, huh?” However … President Barbara sold Gregg his Blue Badge immediately after.

Humboldt Bay Mariculture
Our Featured Speaker last Friday was Mike Wilson, who represents Division 3 on the Humboldt Bay Harbor Recreation and Conservation District. He was joined by Harbor District CEO Jack Crider, who was on hand “to back me up”, according to Mike. Mike is an owner and engineer at HWR Engineering and Science. He has almost 20 years of experience in environmental engineering and planning.

Mike’s presentation focused on mariculture in Humboldt Bay
and how the Harbor District is finding ways to minimize the barriers to entry into this “growing” industry in Humboldt County.

Mike told us that the District’s regulatory jurisdiction includes all of Humboldt Bay and the uplands that the District owns. Its funding comes from property taxes, fees charged at the Woodley Island Marina, tideland leases, harbor improvement surcharges, and pilot fees.

Currently, the bay produces about 7,500,000 pounds of fish per year, and 75,000 gallons of oysters are harvested annually, as well. There are two public marinas – the Woodley Island Marina, and Marina in Eureka – along with six boat launch facilities. There are 6,390 recreational vessels registered that operate in Humboldt Bay. Residents and visitors also enjoy kayaking, birding, and sport fishing.

So what does Mike Wilson have on Gregg???

The local mariculture industry has grown to the point where Humboldt Bay is considered the “Oyster Capital of California”. In addition to oysters, mussels and clams are being farmed. Mariculture is a sustainable industry which relies on clean water. It also boasts a small carbon footprint. We currently have about 4,000 acres available for mariculture, as certified by the Department of Public Health. Of that area, only about 325 are currently in use. The local industry employs 56 residents at a total payroll of about $1.4 million. Total sales are currently at about $6 million. Mike showed us some of the various methods for culturing shellfish, including clutch on longline, rack and bag, basket on longline, FLUPSY (Floating Upwelling System), and clam raft.

A 2009 study indicated that local growth in the industry is limited by space, but an HSU study performed two years later showed that 2,647 acres are potentially available for expansion. The hurdles for potential new entrants include the prohibitive cost for permits. Mike said that existing operators have spent in the aggregate over $1 million. In addition, he said, there may be additional physical, environmental, regulatory, and political difficulties that have not yet been identified.

The Harbor District is trying to facilitate new entrants by securing its own permit, and allowing companies to operate under that umbrella. Their goal is to expand the industry, but only in areas that pose few or no constraints, such as elevation issues, conflicting uses, and avoiding eel grass and other species. The estimated cost to the district is $300,000.

Mike believes that the cost is worthwhile. For every 50 acres put to use, an estimated 10 jobs will be created. Fortunately, the industry requires little in the way of infrastructure. Also some local agencies will realize additional lease revenue, and more locally grown seafood will be sold in our area.

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