Letters to the Editor, January 8, 2020

Stan Harris

The passing of a true Arcata Marsh friend

With the passing of Dr. Stan Harris, the City of Arcata has lost a respected HSU emeritus wildlife professor and a true friend of the Arcata Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary (AMWS). 

Stan played a critical role in the development, design, and management of the Arcata Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary (AMWS). Starting at the beginning in 1979, Stan fully supported every effort in the vision of utilizing domestic wastewater for freshwater wetland habitat. 

It was Stan who reassured City Council members, environmental organizations and local duck hunting group that AMWS would be of value. He reassured the City Council and perhaps the Regional Water Quality Board that open public access would not be a hindrance to the bird activity and activity of other wildlife. 

Stan played an ongoing role in the management of the wetland habitat through his informal and respected relationship with the City’s Environmental Services staff. Over the years he stayed involved with questions and concerns about the impact of vegetation management and water levels as both possibly could impact wildlife and water quality. 

Stan also advised many HSU Wildlife students whose works characterized and chronicled the AMWS wildlife activity. The ecological and environmental education activity at the AMWS and in turn it’s usage by the public is in large part due to the role Stan played over the last 40 years. His presence and role will be dearly missed. 

Bob Gearheart, emeritus professor, Environmental Resources Engineering Department,
Humboldt State University, Arcata

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The unforgettable Stanley W. Harris

When I arrived at Humboldt State University in 1989, Stan was near the end of his remarkable career, which spanned five decades (1959-1992). 

During that time, he was arguably the most influential Wildlife faculty member, based on number of students taught and mentored. His success as an educator can be measured by the legions of alums that populate the wildlife workforce in state and federal agencies of California and beyond. 

Students both revered and feared Stan! A testament to reverence is evidenced by an immediate response from alums seeking to memorialize Stan with a scholarship. 

His leather tie, worn only on exam days, prompted test anxiety in even the most-accomplished students. Stan was a mentor to many; he maintained an open door and students flocked to him.

Stan’s teaching philosophy emphasized “experiential learning” long before it became fashionable. He was a champion of field-based learning, as evidenced by his pelagic cruises, wetland-based tour of Sacramento Valley refuges, and Northeast California “bird blitz.” 

At the end of the day, Stan’s routine included a methodical accounting of every species seen, with an estimate of abundance. 

In 2003, when we traveled together to Costa Rica for a month of birding, he still ended each day in review! The educator in him never failed, as evidenced by his eager post-retirement engagement of students at the Arcata Marsh: Stan asked them what they had observed and why it was important? An educator to the end!

I suspect that each of us can count on one hand the people that have been truly influential in our lives. Former students likely would name Stan among those few; I do, too!

Dr. Mark Colwell
HSU Wildlife Professor

Remembering Dr. Stanley ‘Doc’ Harris

Dr. Stanley Harris, Mentor to legions of graduate students in Natural Resources at Humboldt State University.

One very early morning in April of 1964, I found myself lugging gear across a tidal channel near Trinidad, California. I was helping a Humboldt State College graduate student schlep mist-nets, scales, and bird-banding gear to the top of Little River (Camel) Rock. 

After stowing our gear in preparation for the coming night’s activity, we had time to sit atop the rock and watch the tide come in and the birds flying by. There were five of us who spent the night there in order to put leg bands on Leach’s and Fork-tailed Storm Petrels as they returned to their nest cavities to feed their young and exchange places with their mates.

Sitting on the top of the rock that day, I listened as “Doc” Harris identified to species every immature and adult gull that flew by. Just out of high school and with little more than a few petri dishes in my biological background, I was astounded and amazed that Doc could easily rattle off “1st year Western, 2nd year Herring, adult California, third year Ring-bill...”.

Fast forward to 1970. While in serving in Vietnam, I had thought about returning to Humboldt and especially Patrick’s Point State Park and the Trinidad Pier. To that end, I was revisiting my haunts and happened upon Doc Harris, his young son Michael, and a guy named Ron LeValley. They were on the pier looking at Harlequin ducks and invited me to join them. Doc then recognized me and remembered our time together six years earlier.

Doc Harris became our anchor during these early years of “birding” in the county. With additional youngsters like Dick Erickson, Tom Schulenberg, and Bob Behrstock, we’d rush to Doc’s office with our new finds and submit to his patented “grilling” to make sure we were not “drinking our bath water.” 

Doc was irascible but always helpful and warm-hearted, despite the haranguing he took from a few of us because we may not have seen the expected field marks he was listening for in our descriptions. You had to have your ducks in a row to pass muster with the man with the leather tie. He will be sorely missed.

Gary Friedrichsen
Commercial fisherman, biologist, treasurer, RRAS

Resistance isn’t futile, change is inevitable

A really bad sleight of hand trick from an old broken-down magician

I ran across this tweet from Ron Howard, actor, director, filmmaker that is incredibly accurate about the personality, motivations and goals of our sitting president.

“In the entertainment industry many who have known/worked w/ Trump think that while his reality show was fun and ran a long time, he’s a self-serving, dishonest, morally bankrupt ego maniac who doesn’t care about anything or anyone but his Fame & bank account & is hustling the U.S.”

 Any time Trump gets into real trouble, the impeachment, he usually gives the citizens of the U.S. and the world something else to look at, like a really bad slight of hand trick from an old, broken-down magician. 

Trump’s latest gambit is state-sponsored assassination, which by the way, is illegal under international law. Two previous presidents, over 16 years, declined to take this step fearing reprisals that could lead to a conflagration in the Middle East that will spread and possibly ignite World War 3. For those children who have never lived in the US when we are actually at war, yes Korea and Vietnam were real wars, young men and women are conscripted and they die by the thousands or even millions. 

Real war is not a video game, real war has blood and guts. However, it is never the blood and guts of those who orchestrate the wars.

It is apparent to anyone in this nation that Donald Trump is a puppet of the last remaining vestiges of the USSR and the old Kremlin, Vladimir Putin and his Oligarchs. Haven’t you noticed that whenever Trump is in real danger of being removed from office, he makes a call and his friend Vlad comes up with a solution. We know he calls Vlad because all his phone calls are monitored and someone always leaks.

I am not sure that the latest solution to Trump’s problems is sitting very well with Russian Oligarchs who are constant trading partners with the middle east, especially Iran, and who depend on the oil businesses they run to stay at the top of the food chain.

What I am sure about is that the young people of the United States are going to pay for this latest boondoggle designed to do nothing except to take the attention away from Trump’s impeachment.

Do not let that happen. Do not sacrifice your friends and relatives on the bonfire of the vanities, the bonfire of war.

 Thank you for listening,
Jan Phelps

The Bernie Bubble

Get out of the Bernie Bubble,
And you’ll see that only
Bernie Bros believe
Senator Sanders has a snowball’s
Chance in Hell of winning anything.
(Other then maybe New Hampshire.)
Jeremy Corbyn, George McGovern,
And Walter Mondale.
Don’t add Bernie Sanders
To that list of epic fails!
Michael Dukakis, Adlai Stevenson,
And Hubert Humphrey.
Why do you think Russian Govt.
Internet Bots supported Bernie?
Because Trump’s boss Putin
Was terrified of Hillary.
Even drunk Russians know
America won’t elect a Stalinist
Senator who is 78 years old.

Jake Pickering

Vets Hall Harvest Feast thanks

American Legion Arcata Post 274 wishes to thank those who made 2019 Harvest Feast at the Arcata Veterans Memorial Building successful. Some 325 members of the community were served, thanks to generous donations. These included food, beverages, time and $1,000 in cash support, helping us to reduce our out-of-pocket costs by half. 

Volunteers helped with setup and decoration, cooked, cleaned, served and helped make a memorable Thanksgiving for all involved. 

A special shout-out to Arcata Veterans Hall Auxiliary President Sophia Bogner for putting the Harvest Feast together. 

Without community support, functions like this are not possible. The Vets Hall offers an expanding menu of services to veterans and the community alike. Your support and participation are always welcome, whether you’re a veteran or not. 

The Arcata Veterans Memorial Building is located at 1425 J St., (707) 822-1552.

On behalf of American Legion Arcata Post 274, we thank the community that supports us and helps us fulfill our mission to continue to grow a prosperous atmosphere. 

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! Remember, we’re here for you.
American Legion Post 274 Commander Jeff Sterling

Arcata Main Street Halloween thanks

Arcata Main Street (AMS) wishes to thank everyone who participated in Trick-or-Treating on the Plaza this year. The Merchant Halloween Costume Contest was judged by Susan Ornelas of Arcata’s City Council, and AMS’s Stephen St. Onge. Arcata Chamber of Commerce sponsored Shoshanna as the Halloween Fairy and took photos with families throughout the event.

Thanks to Stephanie Pfeifer of Arcata Tuxedo and Dr. Pepper Hernandez, we were once again able to offer free hay bale rides to trick-or-treaters. The tractor was generously provided by Mike of Papé Machinery. Mayor Brett Watson (a.k.a. Frankenstein) drove the tractor around the plaza for the afternoon. 

The Marching Lumberjacks began their procession from Paul’s Chapel, which was joined by the Arcata Playhouse’s two giant puppets; the Fire puppet, and the Owl puppet. 

Once again the Arcata Fire District provided a fire truck and firefighters for photo opportunities. Additionally, LJ Elder and the Arcata Volunteer Police Department provided their vintage police car and facilitated traffic control. The HSU Women’s Softball team was a major contributor in assisting cars to safely exit the plaza during as well! 

Samuel Oetinger of KRFH 105.1 provided family friendly Halloween music for all to enjoy, including during Kellie Johnson’s Thriller Flash Mob and the Bella Vita Fire Dance Co. fire performance.

We could not have made this event possible without the support of this incredible community! Our many thanks go out to everyone who was involved in making this year’s Trick-or-Treat on the Arcata Plaza a huge success. 

Carrie Tully
Director of Community Development
Arcata Main Street



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