In January, 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency required new limitations on some of the most dangerous rat poisons to protect families but left loopholes that will still leave wildlife at risk.
The Center for Biological Diversity previously reported that recent research concludes that rat poisons have been implicated in deaths involving at least 25 different species of animals in California. And last February, the CBD submitted a formal notice of intent to sue the California Department of Pesticide Regulation to, "...protect the endangered San Joaquin kit fox, golden eagle, Pacific fisher and other wildlife from unintended poisonings from “super-toxic” rat poisons."
According to KMUD News,"Rat Poison disappeared off of some Southern Humboldt shelves this month...other stores continue to sell the second generation anti-coagulant."
More can be heard on this story using the player below. This report was submitted by KMUD News Correspondent, Travis Turner, and was aired by KMUD News Coordinator, Terri Klemetson on Mon., April 15, 2013.
Previous related KMUD News Posts:
"New lawsuit targets rat poison regulation"
"See Biologist Mourad Gabriel- Pot and Endangered Wildlife-Sept. 27 Arcata"
According to a the 2011 Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Humboldt Creamery in Fortuna made up 30% of the total toxic release in Humboldt County. The releases were in the form of nitrates as a by product of its milk manufacturing process.
According to Wikipedia, The Humboldt Creamery was established in 1929 as a local association of 152 dairy farms and, until 2009, creamery production was based on 50 small family dairies located in both Humboldt and Del Norte Counties. Wikipedia futher states that, "It was one of only two dairy operations in the United States to have 'free-farmed' certification, a designation related to the extraordinary quality of life attributed to cows who live in pastures."
After experiencing financial problems and a scandal following the resignation of CEO Rich Ghilarducci, bankruptcy was filed and the assets of the Humboldt Creamery were sold at auction on August 27, 2009 to Foster Farms Dairy. Click here to see the Northcoast Journal article on this story.
Use the player below to hear a report on the toxic release, submitted by KMUD News Correspondent Dan Young. This piece was aired by KMUD News Coordinator, Terri Klemetson, on Friday, April 12, 2013.
Water is necessary for the existence of our species, as well as other life forms on our planet. An article in the Huffington Post, titled, "Water Wars? Here in the US?", uses the term "peak water" to describe the coming water crisis, while a post in Aljazeera.com, states that, "...almost half of humanity will face water scarcity by 2030."
Focusing on water issues in our local area, the third Annual Water Day was held at the Mateel Community Center in Redway on March 30, 2013. This all-day event was sponsored by the Eel River Recovery Project (ERRP) and co-sponsored by a dozen other environmental non-profits.
Kmud News recorded the event and is bringing highlights from the day's offerings of presentations and panels.
Use the player below to hear a report from Water Day, submitted by KMUD News Correspondent, Eric Black, and aired on the KMUD Local News on Mon., April 8, 2013. The piece includes information from a presentation by Tasha McKee (Sanctuary Forest) and ideas offered by Sungnome Madrone of the Mattole Salmon Group.
The player below hosts an audio report submitted by KMUD News Correspondent, Eileen Russell and includes highlights from a presentation on Algae Blooms in the Eel River by Keith Bouma-Gregson from the UC Berkeley, Mary Power Lab; Survey work done by the Eel River Recovery Project, presented by Pat Higgins ERRP Volunteer Coordinator; and toxic algae monitoring discussed by Paul Domanchuk (ERRP Toxic Algae Team). The report was aired by KMUD News Director, Terri Klemetson, on Wed., April 3, 2013.
Photos below show (top to bottom) Tasha McKee doing her presentation; morning panel - (left to right) Sara Schremmer (HSU/SRF), Tasha Mckee (Sancutary Forest), Sungnome Madrone (Mattole Salmon Group), Larry Desmond (Mendocino Water Works), Andrew Orahoske (EPIC); Morning WDIII Audience.
April Cannabis Science Update:
A social work research study recently published in the International Journal of Drug Policy finds that children living in homes where marijuana is cultivated do not suffer from adverse health effects at any greater rate than do comparable children in cannabis-free environments.
Chronic cannabis consumers may test positive for trace, residual levels of THC in their blood, even after abstaining from cannabis use for several weeks. This is according to clinical trial data published in the journal of the American Association of Clinical Chemistry.
The National Institutes for Health and the National Institute for Drug Abuse - both US government agencies - are offering $2 million to researchers who want to study the negative impacts of marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington.
A new study published online in Diabetes Care finds that chronic cannabis smoking can induce subtle metabolic changes that include increased visceral adiposity (also known as belly fat) and increased body fat insulin resistance. The study found no evidence, however, of an association between chronic cannabis smoking and more severe metabolic impairment.
And new research from Australia provides evidence that Adults who inhale cannabis report significantly better health outcomes than those who smoke tobacco, or a combination of both substances.
Use the player below to hear the April Edition of Cannabis Science Update.
Cannabis Science Update is a regular feature of the KMUD radio show, Cannabis Consciousness (1:30-3:00pm on the first Sun. of every month), and is written by Kerry Reynolds, read by Harold Day, and recorded by Dave Smith.
Missing - Genevieve Alexander described as approximately 5' 6", 115 pounds, 30 years of age, curly brown hair, possibly wearing eye glasses.
According to information from the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, 30 year old Genevieve Alexander, shown in the photo above, has been missing since April 4, 2013, at around 3:30 pm. Ms. Alexander was last seen by family members at the Pomo Campground in Fort Bragg, and there was a confirmed sighting of her later at 4:00 pm at the Botanical Gardens in Fort Bragg.
Mendocino County Search and Rescue and the U.S. Coast Guard conducted a search along the coast with negative results.
If you have any information regarding Genevieve's whereabouts, please call the Sheriff's Office at (707) 463-4086.
A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center between March 13-17, among 1,501 adults, shows that for the first time in more than forty years of polling on the issue, a majority of Americans now favor legalizing the use of marijuana. The survey indicates that 52% say that the use of marijuana should be made legal, while 45% say it should not. This represents an increase of 11 percentage points in those favoring legalization since 2011. Young people between the ages of 18 and 32 polled the highest, with 65% in support, up from just 36% in 2008.
Additionally, within the Baby Boomer group (those born between 1946 and 1964), 50% now favor legalizing marijuana, among the highest percentages ever. In past studies, statistics have fluctuated in the Boomer group. For example, in 1978, 47% of Boomers favored legalizing marijuana, but support fell during the 1980s reaching a low of 17% in 1990. However, since 1994 the percentage of Boomers favoring marijuana legalization has more than doubled, going from 24% to 50%.
For further survey details see: www.people-press.org/2013/04/04/majority-now-supports-legalizing-marijuana/
Confrontation escalated this morning, April 2, 2013, between those protesting the Caltrans Willits Bypass Project and California Highway Patrol Officers, the agency charged with safety and enforcement at the project site. Using CHP SWAT Officers trained in climbing techniques, the tree-sitter known as Warbler, who was also engaged in a hunger strike, was removed from high in the tree that she has occupied for over two months. Additional tree-sitters were extracted by the CHP team later in the day.
In response to today's removal of Willit's Bypass Project protestors, by the California Highway Patrol, California Senator Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa) issued a statement which can be read below.
Use the player below to hear details on this story in a piece aired on the KMUD Local News on Tues., April, 2, 2013 by KMUD News Director, Terri Klemetson.
For more information, photos and video see the Save Little Lake Valley web site: http://www.savelittlelakevalley.org
California State Senator Evans' Statement, dated April 2, 2013:
CHP was deployed to remove the protestors of the Willits Bypass Project just hours before I was set to meet with the director of Caltrans to have my questions answered. According to some reports, protestors in trees were extracted by CHP using "rubber bullets", and that CHP officers significantly outnumbered protestors.
I am shocked and dismayed at what seems to be an excessive use of force on unarmed protestors.
Thus far, I feel Caltrans and CHP have been slow to respond to my questions and quick to act regarding the Bypass Project.
It also was extremely disturbing to learn that the press was excluded from observing the removal of the protestors.
I had asked to be kept informed on a daily basis prior to any extraordinary action on this project as I represent the 1.3 million Californians living in the Second Senate District where this project is taking place. Regretfully that did not happen today.
I met today with Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty to express my dismay at today's events. I have additionally requested an immediate meeting with CHP Commissioner Joseph Farrow.
I urge everyone to remain calm and for protestors to remain peaceful in their opposition.
Photo below shows Warbler in her perch in March-Photo from Save Little Lake Valley Web Site.
Photo below provided by Jennifer Poole shows the remains of the Warbler tree-sit.
A study published this month in the Open Journal of Pediatrics indicated that just days after the meltdowns in the nuclear reactors at the Fukushima-Dai-ichi plant in Japan in March, 2011, Iodine-131 concentrations in US precipitation was measured up to 211 times above normal, and that the highest levels of I-131 were found in the five US pacific coastal states. The number of congenital hypothyroid cases in these five states from March 17-December 31, 2011 was found to be 16% greater than for the same period in 2010, compared to a 3% decline in 36 other US States. The authors' noted that In the Pacific/West Coast, the largest changes were in the California city of Eureka.
Joseph Mangan and Janette Sherman, the authors of the study, suggest that, "Further analysis, in the US and in other nations, is needed to better understand any association between iodine exposure from Fukushima-Dai-ichi and congenital hypothyroidism risk."
A search warrant for a residence in Eureka resulted in the arrest of 19 year old Matthew Mildbrandt for cultivation and possession for sale of marijuana, conspiracy to commit a felony, being armed in commission of a felony and unlawful sexual relations with a minor. In the same case a search warrant for a residence in Fortuna and another property at the 2500 block of Burr Valley Road, Dinsmore, led to the arrest of Mark Mildbrandt 56 years old, and his wife Denise Mildbrandt, 54 years old, the parents of Matthew Mildbrandt. Mark Mildbrandt was arrested for cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale, conspiracy and armed in commission of a felony, and Denise Mildbrandt was arrested for cultivation of marijuana, possession for sale of marijuana, conspiracy and armed in commission of a felony. The searches also turned up cash, silver, numerous weapons and suspected evidence of environmental damage.The full press release and photos may be viewed below.
HCSO press release, March 26,2013:
The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office Community Response Unit (C.R.U.) obtained a Humboldt County Superior Court Search warrant for two residences after an approximate month long investigation which began with a crime tip. The warrant authorized the deputies to search a residence in the 2100 block of Law Blvd, Eureka and a residence in the 1900 block of Scenic Drive, Fortuna. Deputies assisted by the Humboldt County Drug Task Force (H.C.D.T.F) served the warrant at Law Blvd first at approximately 7:30 a.m. on 03-25-2013. When deputies arrived they located Matthew Mildbrandt, 19 years old and a 17 year old juvenile female. When deputies searched the residence they located ten one pound packages of marijuana bud, an assault weapon, 65 growing marijuana plants, approximately 10 pounds of processed marijuana, a US Postal Box containing approximately two pounds of sealed marijuana ready to be shipped via US Postal Service, paperwork indicating sales of marijuana, approximately $6000.00 in US Currency and evidence of Matthew Mildbrandt having unlawful sexual relations with a minor. Matthew was arrested for cultivation and possession for sale of marijuana, conspiracy to commit a felony, being armed in commission of a felony and unlawful sexual relations with a minor. He was booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where his bail was set at $50,000.00. The juvenile female was released to her mother who responded to the residence and took custody of her. Mark Mildbrandt was arrested for cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale, conspiracy and armed in commission of a felony, and Denise Mildbrandt was arrested for cultivation of marijuana, possession for sale of marijuana, conspiracy and armed in commission of a felony.
Deputies then served the search warrant at the Scenic Drive residence. When they arrived at the residence no one was home. The residence belonged to Mark Mildbrandt 56 years old, and his wife Denise Mildbrandt, 54 years old, the parents of Matthew Mildbrandt. They searched the residence and located two assault style weapons and nineteen other rifles and handguns. They also located paperwork indicating sales of marijuana and over 400 ounces of silver along withother precious metals and approximately 13,000.00 in cash. While at the home Mark showed up in his employer's truck. Deputies searched the truck Mark arrived in and found approximately 10 pounds of harvested marijuana in the truck. Mark Mildbrandt was arrested for cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale, conspiracy and armed in commission of a felony. He was booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where his bail was set at $50,000.00. Denise Mildbrandt showed up at the residence after Mark, and she too was arrested for cultivation of marijuana, possession for sale of marijuana, conspiracy and armed in commission of a felony. Her bail was set at $50,000.00.
Deputies were able to obtain information during their search which indicated Mark and Denise Mildbrandt had property in the 2500 block of Burr Valley Road, Dinsmore along with Mark David Mildbrandt. Deputies obtained a search warrant for that property and drove to Burr Valley
Road to serve the warrant on 3-25-2013, approximately 4:00 p.m. When the deputies drove up Burr Valley Road, they came across four fir trees that had been recently fallen across the road. The fir trees were approximately two feet in diameter and completely blocked the road. This not only blocked the deputies from accessing the search warrant location to be searched, but it also blocked other non involved residents from accessing or leaving their homes. Deputies were able to clear the road enough to pass after about thirty minutes using chainsaws.
Once at the search warrant site, deputies located a cabin that had been converted for cultivation of marijuana. There was a small living space, along with a drying and manicuring room. Deputies located a diesel powered greenhouse on the property that had leaked several gallons of diesel and oil onto the ground. In the greenhouse structure deputies approximately 300 growing marijuana plants approximately one foot high. They also located approximately 364 pounds of dried marijuana and three firearms including a shotgun. No one was at the structure when they arrived.
The Humboldt County Code Enforcement Unit and Environmental Health are being notified of the environmental damage that the deputies witnessed at the scene. This is an ongoing investigations with more arrests anticipated.
Photos below were provided by HCSO.
Suspects Arrested, left to right: Mark Mildbrandt, Denise Mildbrandt, and Matthew Mildbrandt,
The protest against the Willits Bypass Project is escalating, and according to the KMUD Local News Broadcast, aired by News Director, Terri Klemtson, Thurs., March 21, 2013, the California Highway Patrol stepped up their presence at the project site, and as of 2:30 pm eight people had been arrested.
Use the player below to hear more including:
- An interview with a CHP Officer
- An interview with a Caltrans spokesperson
- Opinions from a tree sitter ("Warbler")
- An interview with a spokesperson from the Environmental Protection and Information Center(EPIC)
- Information on the planned nude photoshoot
Links to more information:
Caltrans Willits Bypass Web Page
Previous KMUD News post Willits Bypass update
KMUD News Post detailing the background of this project and protests against the project
Related information contributed by Dan Roberts
The press release below dated, March 21, 2013 was jointly released by three environmental groups: Center for Biological Diversity, Willits Environmental Center and EPIC.
SACRAMENTO, Calif.— Two-dozen conservation and community organizations are joining together to take on irresponsible and damaging highway-widening projects around the state by the California Department of Transportation. The Caltrans Watch coalition cites wasteful spending, institutionalized disregard of environmental regulations designed to protect natural resources, and a pattern of refusal to address local community concerns. A dozen of the groups are calling on Caltrans to halt construction on the controversial Willits Bypass project in Mendocino County.
“With devastating budget cuts to education, health and social services and the state park system, how can Caltrans squander $350 million on five unnecessary highway widening projects in Northern California, with severe environmental impacts?” asked Jeff Miller of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Someone needs to give ’em a brake. Where’s the oversight and accountability to rein in the pervasive problems at Caltrans, like refusal to consider reasonable alternatives to massive highway projects, shoddy environmental review, no transparency, faulty data and disregard for public input?”
"The Willits community is coming to realize what a disaster the Willits Bypass will be for our environment and our town,” said Ellen Drell of the Willits Environmental Center. “The project should be stopped until Caltrans adequately evaluates less damaging alternatives. We want our transportation dollars and construction jobs directed toward locally appropriate infrastructure that doesn't bankrupt the state, further trash our natural resources or ignore the $300 billion highway maintenance backlog.”
“From the wild canyons of the Smith River, through the redwood parks of Humboldt, to the wetlands headwaters of the Eel River at Willits, Caltrans is running roughshod over the North Coast,” said Natalynne Delapp of the Environmental Protection Information Center. “Local communities are trying to engage the agency to develop appropriate transportation solutions, but Caltrans continues to bulldoze us with archaic projects straight out of the 1950s, that benefit only a limited group of economic interests.”
Despite a pending lawsuit filed by conservation groups challenging the Willits Bypass — a proposed four-lane freeway to be built through sensitive wetlands around the community of Willits — Caltrans has stated its intention to cut down mature oak forests, remove brush and destroy riparian vegetation along critical salmon streams before the case can be heard in federal court this summer. State Sen. Noreen Evans earlier this month sent a letter to Caltrans echoing community concerns over whether there is a need for a four-lane project, why other alternatives or routes were not seriously examined, and if less environmentally destructive solutions to address local traffic congestion were feasible. For now, protestors and a tree-sitter in the path of Caltrans’ proposed superhighway have prevented tree and vegetation removal.
The Caltrans Watch coalition includes: Alameda Creek Alliance, Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters, Campaign for Sensible Transportation, Center for Biological Diversity, Citizens Committee to Complete the Refuge, East Bay Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, Environmental Protection Information Center, Friends of Coyote Hills Committee, Friends of Del Norte, Friends of the Eel River, Local Ecology and Agriculture Fremont, Mendocino Group of the Sierra Club, Northcoast Environmental Center, Pacificans for Highway One Alternatives, Piercy Watersheds Association, Redwood Chapter of the Sierra Club, Safe Alternatives for our Forest Environment, Save Little Lake Valley, Save Niles Canyon, Save Our Sunol, Save Richardson Grove Coalition, Tri-City Ecology Center and Willits Environmental Center.
Caltrans has consistently refused to consider less expensive and ecologically damaging alternatives to highway widening projects that could accomplish safety and transportation objectives, and has ignored public concerns, input and opposition. The coalition points to half a dozen highway-widening projects being pursued by Caltrans that are not needed to achieve the stated safety or transportation access purposes:
* The $10 million Richardson Grove project to widen and realign Highway 101 through Richardson Grove State Park in Humboldt County, damaging prized old-growth redwoods to supposedly increase access for large commercial trucks;
* The $210 million Highway 101 superhighway the size of Interstate 5 around Willits, not needed for local traffic volumes, requiring the largest wetlands fill permit in Northern California in the past 50 years and running through headwaters of salmon-bearing streams and habitat for endangered plants;
* The $19 million Highway 197/199 widening projects in Del Norte County along the “wild and scenic” Smith River to accommodate oversized commercial trucks, with impacts to old-growth redwood trees;
* The $76 million Niles Canyon highway-widening project in Alameda County, a “safety” project stopped by a citizen lawsuit. Caltrans now admits the widening is not needed and the Federal Highway Administration recently concluded it is not warranted by the state’s safety data. It would have cut 600 riparian trees and added four miles of cement retaining walls and rip-rap along a regionally significant stream for steelhead trout;
* The $50 million Calera Parkway project to double the width of Highway 1 in Pacifica, in San Mateo County, with impacts to endangered frogs and garter snakes.
The coalition supports safe roadways and sensible transportation planning. For each of these projects the organizations have expended considerable effort through the available public review processes to encourage Caltrans to pursue reasonable and effective safety or access upgrades that would avoid needless environmental destruction. These efforts have largely been frustrated by Caltrans’ refusal to even evaluate viable alternatives proposed by the affected communities.
The pattern of flawed decision-making and inadequate environmental review by Caltrans has forced community organizations to resort to litigation as the only remaining avenue to seek redress. The coalition cites systemic problems within Caltrans, beginning with the manner in which transportation infrastructure needs are identified, the proposed solutions to address those needs, incomplete and inadequate review of environmental impacts, and disregard for concerns of local communities.