Update: Jan. 30, 2014 - As reported by Amber Griffin on the KMUD Local News, Jan. 29, 2014, the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights will proceed with a formal investigation regarding alleged racial discrimination against Native American students at Loleta Union School District. The investigation was triggered by a complaint filed by the California Indian Legal Services and the American Civil Liberties Union on December 18, 2014. See the original post and a link to the complaint letter below. According to Amber Griffin, “The ACLU expects to sit down with the Office of Civil Rights by the end of the month to discuss allegations in detail."
Click here for additional information on this development appearing in an article by Will Houston in the Times-Standard.
The original post appears below.
Last evening KMUD News covered the suit filed against the Eureka School District by the ACLU and the National Center for Youth Law in behalf of a group of students. See the post below: "ACLU files discrimination suit against Eureka City Schools." Now another complaint has surfaced. This one from the California Indian Legal Services and the ACLU asking the Department of Education Civil Rights Division to investigate alleged racial discrimination against Native American students at Loleta Union School District. Click here to see the letter addressed to the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights.
Use the player below to hear this report, aired on Tues., Jan., 7, 2014 by KMUD News Anchor Christina Aanestad, including an interview with Delia Parr, the managing attorney with California Indian Legal Services who indicates they've made racial discrimination complaints to the Loleta Union School District since 2007. Also, Matt Mattson, Executive Director of Tribal Operations of the Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria, says that it's shocking that this kind of behavior could be occurring in 2014.
A lawsuit, naming a number of Eureka City School District employees and Board Members, was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Center for Youth Law on behalf of four high school students. The plaintiff's Preliminary Statement declares that, "Defendants have subjected and continue to subject Black and Native American students to a racially hostile educational environment by engaging in and allowing pervasive racial harassment, disproportionately and unfairly disciplining Black and Native American students, disproportionately pushing Native American students out of District schools and into alternative schools, and providing racially-offensive and culturally-denigrating curricula in District schools." Click here to view a copy of the lawsuit legal document.
Use the player below to hear more on this story in a piece aired by KMUD News Anchor Christina Aanestad, on Mon. Jan., 6, 2014 as Jory Steele, Managing Attorney with the ACLU, explains that the lawsuit was a last resort after the parents had made dozens of complaints to school officials.
Ed Rosenthal (to the left in photo), California horticulturist, author, publisher, cannabis grower and advocate for legalization of marijuana, in mid-December, 2013, mailed his initiative, The Cannabis Policy Reform Act of 2014. Rosenthal's contribution will now bring the total of marijuana reform initiatives, officially submitted to Sacramento, to four. The other three proposals: The California Cannabis Hemp Initiative 2014; The Control, Regulate and Tax Marijuana Act of 2014 (version2); and The Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act of 2014 (version3) are at various stages of the process for getting an initiative on the ballot.
To be placed on the ballot, each of the proposed initiatives must meet a series of requirements including: approval by the Office of Legislative Counsel, submission to the Attorney General to request preparation of a circulating title/summary of the chief purpose/points of the initiative, and collection of signatures of registered voters. A maximum of 150 days, from the official summary date, is allowed for signature collection. However, signature collection must be completed at least 131 days before the election. Petition circulators must obtain more than 500,000 (at least 5% of the total votes cast for Governor at the last gubernatorial election) qualified signatures for the proposal to qualify, which means shooting for at least 10% more to give a safe margin for disqualifications. Click here for the full process and procedure for implementing a ballot initiative.
The 2010 election witnessed the defeat Prop. 19, the California ballot effort to legalize and regulate marijuana for general use, but since then two states, Colorado and Washington, have passed marijuana reform legislation, other regions in the U.S. have liberalized their pot policies, and changing attitudes regarding marijuana use have been documented. The relevant questions now are: How many different initiatives will be on the California ballot in 2014, and will one of them get the 51% majority needed to become the law of the land? Or, will the issue be deferred to the 2016 election?
Comparisons between the current proposals require careful scrutiny. As a starting point a comparison chart has been created and published by Shona Levana Gochenaur. Note: the accuracy of this chart has not been evaluated. Crafting and getting financial support for any initiative walks the fine line between satisfying the measure's base supporters while still being palatable enough to voters to win a majority at election time, and there are some major differences in these four proposals. For example, the most liberal of the quartet is The California Cannabis Hemp Initiative 2014, championed by followers of Jack Herer a legendary California cannabis advocate who died in 2010. This proposal would allow for 99 flowering plants per year to be grown by adults for personal use and would cap the taxes at 10% of the retail price of the product. Whereas, The Control, Regulate and Tax Marijuana Act imposes a 25% tax and stipulates that for personal use, "...not more than six plants may be possessed, grown, or processed at a single home or private residence, or upon the grounds of that home or private residence, at one time."
The California marijuana legislative landscape will be changing as the signature collection deadlines come and go and financial and volunteer support for the proposals solidifies. The current initiatives may be viewed by clicking the links in the first paragraph above.
- "Legalizing pot could save California hundreds of millions every year, state says" - Washington Post
- "Welcome to the Hotel California" - Article in the Weedactivist.com
- "As Colorado, Washington legalize recreational pot, California mulls its options"-The Sacramento Bee
- "Ed Rosenthal Files The Cannabis Policy Reform Act of 2014"-S.F gate blog
- "California Could Become The Third U.S. State To Legalize Pot "-The Huffington Post
- Secretary of State Initiative and Referendum Proposal website
Update- Fri., Jan. 10, 2014: On Fri. Jan., 10, 2014, Christina Aanestad interviewed Sheriff Mike Downey about the murder of Father Eric Freed and the circumstances involving the arrested suspect in the case, Gary Lee Bullock. See the post and press release below. Bullock was arrested on December 31, 2013, the day before the homicide, for public intoxication and then released at 12:34 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2014. At about 9 a.m. on Jan. 1, officers were dispatched to the St.Bernard Church Rectory in Eureka where they found Father Erick Freed deceased, and on Jan. 2 Bullock was arrested for the murder. Sheriff Downey responds to criticism that law enforcement could have done more. Use the KMUD News SoundCloud player below to hear the interview.
According to a report on the Times Standard.com website, Eureka Police Department Chief Andrew Mills confirmed the arrest, at 12:30 pm today, Jan. 2, 2014, of Gary Lee Bullock (shown in the photo) as a suspect in the murder of Father Eric Freed. Bullock was located in a house in the Briceland area and is currently being held by Humboldt County Sheriff's deputies. Father Freed was found mortally injured Wed., Jan 1, 2014 by Deacon Frank Weber, in the Rectory of St. Bernard Church in Eureka after Father Freed failed to show up to conduct Mass. Earlier today, before the arrest, the Eureka Police Department distributed a press release announcing the arrest warrant and hunt for Gary Lee Bullock. The press release appears below. Tune into the 6 pm Local News on KMUD tonight to hear more on this story.
Use the player below to hear a report on the arrest of Gary Lee Bullock. The report was submitted by KMUD News Correspondent, Daniel Mintz, and aired on Thurs., Jan 2, 2014.
Press release from the Eureka Police Department, dated Thurs., Jan. 2, 2014:
The Eureka Police Department announced an arrest warrant today for Gary Lee Bullock has been obtained for the murder of Father Eric Freed. Bullock is a white male 6'1”, 195 pounds and has dark colored hair. His last known address was Redway, California. The facts of the case are as follows: On December 31, 2013 Bullock was the subject of a radio call regarding a person who was acting strangely in the Garberville area of southern Humboldt County. Humboldt County deputies located and arrested Bullock for public intoxication. He was taken to jail where he was rejected due to his erratic behavior. Bullock was then taken to the hospital for evaluation where he became more agitated and had to be physically restrained by deputies. Bullock was ultimately booked into jail at 4:34 p.m.
Gary Bullock was released at 12:34 a.m. on Jan. 1. At about 2 a.m. hours officers from Eureka Police Department were dispatched to 615 H Street, regarding a suspicious person. Officers contacted Bullock and found that Bullock was not intoxicated, and did not qualify for an emergency psychological hold. Officers referred Bullock to an emergency shelter for the night.
Later that evening a security guard heard noise in the area of the church and went to investigate. He saw a person matching Bullock's description and directed him to leave the property after a short conversation.
At about 9 a.m. officers were dispatched to the church Rectory where parishioners found Reverend Father Erick Freed badly injured. Officers and a doctor, who is a parishioner at Saint Bernard, observed that he was deceased. The exact cause of death has yet to be determined and an autopsy is scheduled for Saturday. It does appear that there was blunt force trauma to the victim.
EPD's investigation into this homicide has revealed that forced entry was made into the parsonage and a violent struggle ensued. The pastor's vehicle was also noticed missing during the crime scene search. That vehicle is a dark gray 2010 Nissan Hybrid bearing California license plate 6NDW400. Residents are asked to be on the lookout for Gary Bullock and the Pastor's missing vehicle. If spotted they should immediately contact local law enforcement and do not approach the subject. There are currently more than 25 officers, detectives and agents assigned to the task of finding Gary Bullock and bringing him to justice. If friends, family or associates have had contact with Bullock they need to call Detective Sergeant Bill Nova immediately. He can be reached at (707) 268 5261.
Update- Jan. 10, 2014 - Ryan Grammer, 33, was located by family members yesterday afternoon, Jan., 9, 2014, according to a press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office. Grammer, who was reported missing on Dec. 27, 2013, by his mother, was found at a bus stop in McKinleyville. He was taken by his family to obtain medical care. The press release did not contain any additional information. The original post on this missing person appears below.
Ryan Matthew Grammer, 33 years old, (shown in the photo) was reported missing from Eureka by his mother last Friday, according to a press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office. Ryan, who does not own a vehicle and left his mother's residence on foot, has medical issues and is therefore is considered a high risk missing person. Grammer is described as a white male adult, 33 years old, 6’ tall, approximately 200 lbs, partially grey hair, hazel eyes. He was last seen wearing blue jeans, a maroon sweatshirt, and a grey sweatshirt. Anyone with information which might help locate Ryan Grammer is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.
HCSO press release:
On 12-27-2013, approximately 8:00 p.m. the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a high risk missing person. The mother of Ryan Matthew Grammer, 33 years old, reported he was last seen at her residence on Nedra Avenue, Eureka on 12-15-2013 after they had been in an argument. Ryan left her residence on foot. He does not own a vehicle. His mother became concerned after he failed to return and left all of his belongings behind. She has checked with all of his friends who have not seen nor heard from him. His mother reported that he always contacts his children on Christmas, and this year he did not. She told the investigating deputy he has medical issues which need to be addressed and treated.
Ryan Grammer is described as a white male adult, 33 years old, 6’ tall, approximately 200 lbs, partially grey hair, hazel eyes. He was last seen wearing blue jeans, a maroon sweatshirt, and a grey sweatshirt.
Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriffs Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.
One passenger (name withheld pending notification of next of kin) was killed, one sustained moderate injuries, and the driver, Chang Thao age 22 of McKinleyville, was severely injured as his Honda Civic (shown in the photo) spun out of control after passing another vehicle going northbound on US-101, south of Redcrest, Calif. According to a press release from the Calif. Highway Patrol, the accident happened around 7 pm last Fri., Dec., 26, 2013. The Honda was the only vehicle involved in the accident, and according to the press release DUI does not appear to be a factor in this collision. More details can be viewed in the press release below.
CHP Press Release:
On 12/26/2013, at approximately 1858 hours, Chang Thao, age 22, of Mckinleyville, CA, was driving a 2000 Honda Civic northbound on US-101, south of Redcrest, CA. The vehicle was traveling in the #1 lane, at approximately 60 mph. After passing a truck tractor towing a semi-trailer, the Honda moved into the #2 lane. As the Honda proceeded northbound it began to travel onto the shoulder of US-101. It then came in contact with the guardrail. Chang Thao steered the Honda to the left in an attempt to return the vehicle to the traffic lanes. Chang Thao lost control of the vehicle and it spun out of control northwesterly across all lanes of traffic. The Honda continued onto the southbound shoulder of US-101 where it stuck a raised asphalt curb. The impact caused the Honda to overturn. Ultimately, the Honda’s passenger side roof and door impacted a large diameter Redwood tree west of the west Roadway edge of US-101.
Due to the collision, the vehicle’s right front passenger, (name being withheld pending notification of the next of kin), age 58, unknown city of residence, suffered fatal injuries. The left rear passenger, Ampoung Lee, age 47, unknown city of residence, received moderate injuries and was transported to Redwood Memorial Hospital. Chang Thao, driver, was transported to Redwood Memorial Hospital with major injuries.
The Garberville CHP Office is handling the collision investigation, with assistance from the Humboldt County Coroner’s Office.
DUI does not appear to be a factor in this collision.
The Elk River Watershed (shown in the image below) was heavily logged by Maxxam-owned Pacific Lumber Company and continues to suffer from those past logging practices. The condition of the river which is still plagued by flooding and heavy sedimentation prompted a meeting involving residents of the Elk River Watershed and other stakeholders. Held in Eureka on Sat., Nov, 16, 2013 and hosted by the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors, the meeting, dubbed the Elk River Forum, was an attempt to look for solutions to this on-going problem. The audio from the forum can be heard using the players below.
Use the player directly below to hear coverage of the Elk River Forum in a piece submitted by Kelly Lincoln and aired by KMUD News anchor Eileen Russell on the Local News, Mon., Nov. 18, 2013.
The map of the Elk River Watershed shown below, was designed by the
Redwood Community Action Agency Natural Resources Services, and appears on their website.
Audio from the forum and the audio descriptions were provided by Kelly Lincoln and can be heard using the players below.
HC Supervisor Rex Bohn defines the goal of the meeting as “working collaboratively to address some of the impacts to the Elk River Watershed.”
Jerry Martien of Friends of the Elk River, describes the issue and the motivations of Friends of the Elk River.
Craig Benson of Redwood Community Action Agency's Natural Resources Division is the day’s moderator. He introduces the topic, the panelists, the speakers and the goals for the meeting. The major point of interest is the sediment and the TMDL (total maximum daily load) released by the NCRWQCB (North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board) in the summer of 2013.
The first speaker of the day was Adonna White who coordinated writing the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for the NCRWQCB. In the vernacular of the Regional Water Quality Control Board, when a stream has been determined to be “impacted” by a pollutant, then a measurement of the pollutant is taken and studies are done to determine how much of the pollutant can be allowed and still allow the stream to be moderately healthy. That measurement is called the TMDL. This audio is broken up into Parts 1 and 2 below.
Jack Lewis provided consultant services to the NCRWQCB in its statistical analysis phase. He explains what method he used and the results he obtained which backed the agency’s analysis.
Humboldt Baykeepers gives an overview of the role of the Elk River in providing sediment to the bay. There is a lot that is unknown about the health of the Humboldt Bay.
The forum moderator shows a slide of sediment build up over time.
Jim Robbins, CalFire Forestry Supervisor, explains the rules of forestry, how they are implemented, and that the level of sediment reduction being proposed by the TMDL far surpasses ordinary timber harvest plan control mechanisms for sediment control.
Darren Mierau of CalTrout explains Caltrout’s role in the feasibility study. They have been named the lead agency and are seeking the best possible site to locate the practice trial of physically removing sediment from the channel.
A Registered Professional Forester explains his perspective on the totality of the situation. He puts land-use conflicts into perspective with the statistic of how many board feet annually are not cut due to conflict with urban encroachment on the timberlands.
Update - Wed., Dec. 18, 2013: Ray Fidler, wanted by the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office for suspicion of auto theft and assault with a deadly weapon (see the original post on this story below), was located in Fortuna by Fortuna Police Department officers and arrested on multiple charges. According to a press release from the Fortuna Police Dept., the arrest included recovery of two stolen vehicles and, "...hand guns, ski masks, gloves and other items consistent with committing thefts." Two other suspects were arrested along with Fidler: Blake Nicole Treadwell (age 25) and Anna Crowl (age 42). The FPD press release appears below.
FPD press release, dated Wed., Dec. 18, 2013:
Fortuna, CA - On December 17th 2013 at about 9:52 am, Officers with the Fortuna Police Department located Daniel Ray Fidler (age 40) in the 600 block of 15th Street. Fidler was known to officers and was wanted by the Humboldt County Sherriff’s Office for suspicion of auto theft and assault with a deadly weapon. Fidler attempted to flee on foot and was apprehended by officers. Daniel Ray Fidler (age 40) was taken into custody and he was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where he was booked on the following charges.
• 496(a) Penal Code, Possession of Stolen Property
• 29800(a)(1) Penal Code, Felon in possession of Firearm
• 30305(a)(1) Penal Code, Felon in possession of Ammunition
• 148(a)(1) Penal Code, Resisting Arrest
• 1203.2(a) 4 Penal Code, Violation of Probation
• Also 836/245 Penal Code, Assault with Deadly Weapon and an outstanding Arrest from Humboldt County Sherriff’s Office for Auto Theft
In the course of the investigation two stolen vehicles were recovered, two handguns were seized and we believe further serious crimes were prevented. In addition to the seized handguns officers located, ski masks, gloves and other items consistent with committing thefts.
Two additional arrests were made along with Daniel Ray Fidler (age 40). Officers arrested Blake Nicole Treadwell (age 25) and she was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where she was booked on the following charges.
• 25400(a)(2) Penal Code, Possession of Concealed Firearms
• 11377(a) Health and Safety, Possession of 11.2 grams of Methamphetamine
• 11379 Health and Safety, Transportation of Methamphetamine
Officers arrested Anna Crowl (age 42) and she was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where she was booked for an outstanding arrest warrant for Burglary.
The original post on this appears below.
According to a Humboldt County Sheriff's Office Press release, a man identified as Danny Ray Fidler (shown in the photo) is wanted for allegedly using a suspected stolen vehicle to ram another man's truck - also striking another parked car and a tree - as he was attempting to flee the area.
Fidler is described as a White male adult, 40 years old, brown hair, hazel eyes, 5’8” tall, 130 lbs., and has several tattoos on both arms. He is wanted for assault with a deadly weapon, felony vandalism, possession of stolen property, violation of probation and a previous felony warrant in another case. Anyone with information about Fidler is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff's Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539. See the complete HCSO press release below for more information.
HCSO Press Release-Fri., Dec., 13, 2013:
On 12-7-2013, approximately 9:00 a.m. the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office was notified of the theft of a vehicle from a garage on Akerman Lane, Carlotta. The victim told the investigating deputy he exited his home at 6:30 a.m. on 12-07-13 and noticed his garage door was open and his forest green 2011 Jeep Wrangler, California Plate 6PZA957 was missing. The victim also saw his truck which had been parked in front of his residence had been ransacked, and his garage door opener was missing. The victim had parked his Jeep in his garage the evening before and closed the garage door.
On 12-12-2013, at approximately 12:00 p.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office was notified of an assault with a vehicle which just occurred in the 5400 block of Highway 36, Carlotta. A deputy and California Highway Patrol officer responded to the scene. When the investigating deputy met with the 36 year old male victim and witnesses, he learned the Jeep that was stolen on 12-7-2013, was the vehicle involved. The victim told the deputy he was working on a private driveway that leads to several residences in the 5400 block of Highway 36. The victim was aware of the stolen 2011 Jeep Wrangler, because it belonged to a friend. The victim saw the Wrangler drive past the location where he was working. He called his friend and confirmed the license plate and that it was still stolen. The victim saw the Jeep park in the driveway of a nearby residence. The victim had a co-worker call 911 to report finding the stolen Jeep, while the victim drove his Ford 350 truck to where the Jeep parked and attempted to block it in until law enforcement could arrive.
When the victim started to block the Jeep in, the driver of the Jeep put it in reverse and rammed the victim’s truck to escape. The Jeep rammed the victim’s truck, and also struck an unoccupied parked 2008 Nissan Altima and a tree before fleeing the area.
The victim was uninjured; however, his truck and the Altima sustained several thousand dollars in damage. Deputies located witnesses who also saw the intentional ramming.
Deputies learned during their investigation, the person driving the stolen Jeep was identified as Danny Ray Fidler, 40 years old. Fidler has an outstanding felony warrant for his arrest for violation of Post Community Release Supervision. He is also on felony probation for stealing a vehicle, fleeing a police officer and transportation of a controlled substance.
A be-on-the-lookout for the Jeep and Fiddler was issued to area wide law enforcement. Besides the arrest warrant, Fidler is wanted for assault with a deadly weapon, felony vandalism, possession of stolen property and violation of probation.
Danny Ray Fidler is described as follows: White male adult, 40 years old, brown hair, hazel eyes, 5’8” tall, 130 lbs. He has several tattoos on both arms.
Anyone with information for the Sheriffs Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriffs Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriffs Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.
Community members rallied after hearing about the possible closure of the Obstetrics Unit at Redwood Memorial Hospital (RMH) in Fortuna. About 200 members of the public attended an afternoon public meeting on the issue held last Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013. The objective of the meeting was to explain the situation and get feedback from the public to help inform the St. Joseph Health/Humboldt County Board of Trustees as they consider several options, including consolidating the Redwood Memorial and St. Joseph obstetrics programs.
According to Redwood Memorial Foundation President John Egan, coverage issues and lack of recruitment, not lack of money, were the reasons for considering eliminating the obstetrics program at Redwood Memorial. Use the player below to hear more on this story, aired by Terri Klemetson on the KMUD Local News Friday, Dec.6.
Use the players below to hear audio from the public meeting. KMUD thanks Precision Intermedia and the McLean Foundation for providing us with the audio recordings.
RMH Public Meeting part 1: Introductions and Comments
RMH Public Meeting part 2: Health System Presentation
RMH Public Meeting part 3: Comments
Medicare’s annual open enrollment period has begun and will run through Dec. 7, 2013. According to a press release from David Sayen, Medicare Regional Administrator, if you want to change your Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D (prescription drug) plan, now is the time to do it. Any changes in coverage will then begin as of Jan. 1, 2014.
Click here for more information and comparisons of benefits. Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) for around-the-clock assistance to find out more about your coverage options. For more information see the complete press release below.
Medicare Press release:
Medicare’s annual open enrollment period has begun, and I want to encourage everyone with Medicare to review their current health and prescription drug coverage. Open enrollment runs through Dec. 7, 2013. If you want to change your Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D (prescription drug) plan, this is the time of year to do it. Any new coverage you select will kick in on Jan. 1, 2014.
If you have Original Medicare and you’re satisfied with it, you don’t need to do anything during open enrollment. Also, Medicare’s open enrollment has nothing to do with the Affordable Care Act’s new Health Insurance Marketplace. If you have Medicare, you don’t need to worry about Marketplace plans.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, or CMS, announced recently that the average Medicare Advantage premium for 2014 is projected to be $32.60. CMS estimated that the average basic Part D drug premium in 2014 would be $31 per month, holding steady for four years in a row.
Since the Affordable Care Act was passed, average Medicare Advantage premiums are down by 9.8 percent. The deductible for standard Part D drug plans in 2014 will be $310, a $15 decline. Meanwhile, the quality of Medicare Advantage and Part D drug plans continues to improve, with more than one-third of Medicare Advantage plans receiving four or more stars (out of a possible five stars) in 2014 -- a 28 percent increase over last year. Medicare Advantage and Part D drug plans with five stars are allowed to enroll beneficiaries at any time during the year.
Medicare plans’ coverage options and costs can change each year, and Medicare beneficiaries should evaluate their current coverage and choices and select the plan that best meets their needs. If you think your current coverage will meet your needs for 2014, you don’t need to change anything.
For more information on Medicare open enrollment and to compare benefits and prices of 2014 Medicare Advantage and Part D drug plans, please visit: www.cms.gov/Center/Special-Topic/Open-Enrollment-Center.html.
A variety of resources are available to help people with Medicare, their families, and caregivers compare current coverage with new plan offerings for 2014. You can:
- Visit www.medicare.gov to see plan coverage and costs available in your area, and enroll in a new plan if you decide to make a change. Open enrollment information is available in Spanish.
- Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) for around-the-clock assistance to find out more about your coverage options. TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048. Counseling is available in a wide variety of languages.
- Review the 2014 Medicare & You handbook. This handbook has been mailed to the homes of people with Medicare and it’s also online at: www.medicare.gov/pubs/pdf/10050.pdf.
- Get one-on-one counseling assistance from your local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). Local SHIP contact information can be found:
- At www.medicare.gov/contacts/organization-search-criteria.aspx or;
- On the back of the 2014 Medicare & You handbook or;
- By calling Medicare (contact information above).
People with Medicare who have limited income and resources may qualify for Extra Help paying for their Part D drug plans. There’s no cost or obligation to apply for Extra Help, also called the low-income subsidy. Medicare beneficiaries, family members, or caregivers can apply online at www.socialsecurity.gov/prescriptionhelp or call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY users should call 1-800-325-0778) to find out more.
Please watch out for scammers during Medicare open enrollment season. Don’t give personal information to anyone who shows up at your home uninvited or makes an unsolicited phone call to sell you Medicare-related products or services. If you believe you’re a victim of fraud or identity theft, please contact 1-800-MEDICARE. More information is available at www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.
The State Water Resources Control Board's Division of Water Rights today (Nov. 26, 2013) issued a Cease and Desist Order to the Benbow Water Company, in Benbow Calif., requiring the company to stop water sales outside the district's area of service, according to a press release from the State Water Board. The release cited possible negative impacts on fish and wildlife as a rationale for the order which was reportedly triggered by a public complaint.
The Cease and Desist Order, requires the Benbow Water Co. to immediately stop the bulk sale and delivery of water outside the authorized place of use, including some local community-sponsored events. However, the order allows the water company to choose to continue to provide bulk water sales outside its authorized place of use, when the water is needed for emergency domestic water supply. More details appear in the press release below.
Hear more on this story in a news piece aired on the KMUD Local News on Wed. Nov. 27, 2013 by News Director Terri Klemetson.
Press Release from PIO Office, State Water Resources Control Board:
To prevent possible negative impacts to fish and wildlife, the State Water Resources Control Board's Division of Water Rights today issued a Cease and Desist Order to the Benbow Water Co. in Humboldt County to halt water sales outside the district's area of service. Under the order, the Benbow Water Co. must stop selling bulk water for use outside the area of service defined in the water district's permit, and take actions to correct permit violations involving service to 20 homes outside of the service area. Violations were discovered as a result of a public complaint.
The water district has a State Water Board permit to draw water from the East Branch of the South Fork of the Eel River, and it also claims a riparian right to water from the river. The water right permit defines the uses for the water, the amount that may be diverted and the area in which the water may be used. Water diversions under riparian rights do not need a permit, but the water must be used on land contiguous to the water body. The continued sale of bulk water outside the area of service of the Benbow Water Co. poses a threat to public trust resources and fisheries, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The South Fork of the Eel River is a designated Wild and Scenic River, and supports Coho Salmon, Chinook Salmon and Steelhead Trout, all listed as threatened species. The unauthorized diversion of water reduces the amount of water available for fisheries and other riparian habitat.
Under the Cease and Desist Order, Benbow Water Co. must immediately stop the bulk sale and delivery of water outside the authorized place of use, including some local community-sponsored events, until the State Water Board considers a petition for change in the water right permit; and stop all other sale of bulk water outside the place or season of use within 30 days. The Order allows Benbow Water Co. to choose to continue to provide bulk water sales outside its authorized place of use, however, when the water is needed for emergency domestic water supply.
The water company is ordered to keep accurate records of bulk water sales within the area of service, detailing the name of the water hauler, the volume of water sold, the date, purchaser, purpose and place of use. Separate records of bulk water sales for emergency domestic water use must be kept. Within 60 days, Benbow Water Co. must file a petition for change in place of use to include areas now receiving water diverted under the Benbow permit, and keep monthly records of the water served to areas outside the authorized places of use.
Benbow Water Co. must demonstrate a valid basis of right to deliver water to the 20 homes outside the authorized service area or file an appropriative water right to cover the diversion and use of water; and immediately discontinue adding new residential or commercial water service connections to parcels outside of the authorized place of use or without a riparian claim of right. If Benbow Water Co. fails to comply with the order, it could be subject to civil liability fees of up to $1,000 for each day of violation, or referral to the Attorney General for further enforcement action.
To learn more about the State Water Board's protection of public trust resources,visit: http://www.swrcb.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/public_trust_resources/