The Mendocino Beacon

January 18, 2018

The Mendocino Beacon - Weekly newspaper published since 1877 with news, sports, obituaries and classifieds.

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Like The Mendocino Beacon and stay in the loop on local news, sports and more. VISIT FACEBOOK.COM/ MENDOCINOBEACON LIKE US ON FACEBOOK New local effort to address kelp depletion. See below MHS basketball: competitive league, promising start. Page B1 INSIDE THIS WEEK "Musashi," (large sculpture, center-right) a work by guest artist Odis Schmidt was a centerpiece at the Artists Co-op of Mendocino during Second Saturday art openings Jan. 13. The event debuted several topical works with local relevance as well. See story on page A5. SECOND SATURDAY MORE THAN A CONVERSATION PIECE STAFF Calendar ..........B3 Classified ........ B7 Crossword .......B3 Obituaries ....... A6 Opinion ............A4 Sports .............. B1 INDEX By Chris Calder @FBAdvocateNews on Twitter The street lights that have lit the town of Mendocino since the mid-1960s are slated to be replaced some time over the next year. In 2017, PG&E notified the Mendocino C it y C om mu- nity Services District that the town's lighting was. The utility gave the MCCSD a choice: pick among a selection of PG&E- approved "luminaries," or let PG&E decide what fixture to use, which would most likely be the same as the majority of the streetlights in Fort Bragg. Citing concerns over light pollution, which is being ad- dressed in many communities by the Dark Skies Initiative, Mendocino residents, at recent meetings including the one Jan. 11, have encouraged the MCCSD to choose lights that will make Mendocino's skies darker and its moon and stars brighter. Last Thursday, the Men- docino City Community Ser- vices District board subcom- mittee — Harold Hauck and Otto Rice — assigned to work with PG&E on how and with what the lights will be replaced — met to discuss options and come up with a recommenda- tion to make to the MCCSD board at an upcoming board meeting. They ended up choos- ing one of PG&E's pre-approved lights, a teardrop shaped-LED made by Holophane Glaswerks. District Superintendent Mike Kelley, who has been work- ing with PG&E on the matter, said he will ask the company MCCSD Street light choice sent on to board EVENT » PAGE A2 MLK Day march on the coast ARTS » PAGE A5 Unusual trio coming to coast HIDDEN GEM » PAGE A7 How The Woodlands began THIS WEEK'S WEB BONUS Find us on Facebook By Chris Calder @FBAdvocateNews on Twitter Elk's Community Services Dis- trict board appointed a new chief — Bob Matson — talked over their new satellite phone and develop- ing computerized disaster plan, looked at the fire district's future funding needs and grappled with new state requirements for expen- sive additions to medical stores on ambulances. But the challenge that keeps coming up has to do with basic numbers. After two volunteers leave as planned this spring, the department will have 15 mem- bers, three of whom are trained EMTs. "We have a serious problem in staffing our ambulance," said board President Ben MacMillan during the board's Jan. 11 meet- ing. MacMillan said the department has had to tell Howard Forest, the CalFire dispatch center that co- ordinates emergency response countywide, that the Elk Volun- teer Fire Department can't reli- ably respond to ambulance calls because there is just one EMT who is regularly available. ELK CSD Elk Fire: volunteers badly needed Shortage of new, younger members of the community willing, able to step up STAFF The Elk Volunteer Fire Department (not all members pictured) in February 2017. By Chris Calder @FBAdvocateNews on Twitter Mendocino Coast District Hos- pital board members approved changes and a new bid to several renovation projects at a special meeting on Jan. 15. Replacement of the hospital's automatic transfer switch, which puts the facility on a backup gen- erator, received a single bidder, Fort Bragg Electric, which was accepted unanimously by the board. T he a mou nt of t he bid , $709,7 75, wa s si g n if ic a nt ly higher than a 2015 estimate of $573,487. HOSPITAL Board wrestles project costs By Chris Calder @FBAdvocateNews on Twitter A crisis in the abalone fishery has given the Noyo Center for Marine Science a real-time role in looking for ways to recover the recreational fishery and improve the broader health of the near- shore ecosystem along the Men- docino Coast, Noyo Center Execu- tive Director Sheila Semans told a gathering of the Mendocino Study Club on Jan. 12. A chain of events that appar- ently began with a sudden surge of wasting disease among West Coast sea stars in 2011, resulted in a population explosion among purple sea urchins, which are nor- mally sea star food. The overly plentiful purple urchins then went to work on kelp, the main food supply for abalone and red sea urchins as well, Semans said. Red urchins are marketable, purple urchins are not, so along with the recreational abalone fish- ery, the commercial urchin fish- ery has suffered a collapse over the past couple of years as well. With the 2018 abalone season cancelled — an estimated $44 mil- lion hit to the North Coast econ- omy — there is plenty of interest in finding out what's wrong and OUTDOORS Noyo Center connects with divers, students over urchin, abalone quandary STAFF ELK FIRE » PAGE 8 MCCSD » PAGE 3 HOSPITAL » PAGE 8 ABALONE » PAGE 5 Noyo Center for Marine Science Executive Director Sheila Semans speaks to the Mendocino Study Club Jan. 12. » Thursday, January 18, 2018 75 CENTS FACEBOOK.COM/MENDOCINOBEACON Volume 140, issue 16 8 52659 03865 7

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