Seaside Village Expands Library Hours, Seeks Grant To Study Sea Rise

Benjamin Fordham

Mad River Union 

TRINIDAD – As summer turns to fall, the ocean turns foul and the chill winds begin to blow straight through your windbreaker. The tourists have all returned back to wherever they came from, but there’s still plenty going on in the City of Trinidad for locals to enjoy.

The city’s new library will be open a third day per week thanks to funds from the city and a matching contribution from Friends of the Library. New hours of operation are Tuesdays noon to 3:30 p.m., Thursdays 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. until 7 p.m., and Saturdays from noon until 4 p.m. The city is also developing policies for using the library for community events.

The Trinidad Land Trust, which owns the property, has also laid the foundations for an office and meeting space to be added onto the building.

For musicians of all shapes, sizes, and skill levels, local musician and Humboldt Music Academy Artistic Director Gregg Moore is starting a community music night on Tuesday nights. “It’s a learning situation I’ve been developing over the last few years with a group at the Bayside Grange, and it’s working so well that I’m thinking other communities might benefit from the idea,” said Moore. It will be a free-flowing, collaborative event, with Moore teaching the group folk songs from different cultures at speeds everyone can follow along with. The music nights will be held at the Trinidad School in Room 9, from 7 to 9 p.m. The cost is $7.50 per session.

In legal matters, the city has filed a motion for summary judgment in the case of the Tsurai Ancestral Society vs. Pennisi et al., requesting that the city be removed as a defendant in the case. The lawsuit is for emotional damages regarding former City Manager Sam Pennisi and wife Sharon Ferrett’s alleged illegal removal of trees located within the Tsurai Ancestral Site. Pennisi and Ferrett contend that the removal of the trees, which happened to be obstructing their ocean view, was the result of a misunderstanding between themselves and a tree removal service. The judge has until Nov. 18 to render a decision on the city’s motion.

In wastewater news, the city is working on amending its On-site Wastewater Treatment (septic tank) Ordinance mailers to reflect citizens’ questions and concerns. In an effort to minimize stormwater pollutants into Trinidad Bay, property owners within city limits are being required to have their septic tanks inspected and, if necessary, upgraded. The first 50 mailers went out earlier this year, and according to City Manager Karen Suiker, “…most property owners have been amicable and cooperative.”

The water-quality control measures are required due to Trinidad’s status as one of California’s 34 Area of Special Biological Significance, which, according to the California Environmental Protection Agency “support an unusual variety of aquatic life, and often host unique individual species”. Such areas are monitored and maintained for water quality by the state, and the city must remain compliant.

In addition, Trinidad is a Gateway Community for the California Coastal National Monument, the national maritime monument covering 1,100 miles of California’s coast from Mexico to Oregon.

The city is also working on over $9 million worth of grant-funded projects ranging from wastewater treatment to assessing the impact of sea-level rise.

“It’s actually quite amazing for a small town,” said Suiker. “The difficulty this presents us is that we are held to the same standards and expectations as much larger entities with regard to reporting, tracking and financial accountability and meeting grant deliverables and so forth.”

Suiker said this can create a bit of a juggling act for the city’s very small staff.

Some of the grant projects include $1.7 million for sediment reduction in Luffenholtz Creek, $2.5 million for stormwater management improvement, and $294,000 for the city’s participation in the North Coast Stormwater Coalition.

The Luffenholtz Creek project is being funded by the California Department of Public Health, and the stormwater management project is being funded by 2006’s Prop 84, which raised $5.4 billion through the sale of general obligation bonds. The North Coast Stormwater Coalition participation is being funded by the California Department of Conservation.

Also, at no initial cost to the city, the Arcata-based planning, permitting, and consulting firm Streamline Planning Consultants has submitted a Climate Change Sea Level grant application for $50,000 to study the effects of predicted sea-level rise on the Trinidad area.

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