Ryan Burns / Monday, Feb. 3 @ 1:55 p.m. / Education
At tomorrow afternoon’s meeting of the College of the Redwoods Board of Trustees, CR President/Superintendent Kathy Smith will recommend suspending all operations at both the Mendocino Coast campus and the Garberville instructional site starting this fall.
It’s a discussion-only item, meaning no action will be taken Tuesday. But it’s a serious proposal designed to address the financial crisis at the beleaguered community college. Cuts in state funding and declining attendance have contributed to the school’s money troubles, according to the board packet for Tuesday’s meeting.
The enrollment drop has been caused by a number of factors, including reduced class offerings, struggling local industries, accreditation trouble and aging populations on the North Coast. The state has deemphasized lifelong learning in favor of basic skills, transfer courses and career technical education, so there are a lot fewer adults taking art and P.E. classes for personal betterment.
CR’s Mendo campus has long run at a financial loss. Even with these challenges, people in Mendo are, understandably, none too happy about the proposal. In fact, they sound pretty fed up with CR, period.
Mendocino County Supervisor Dan Gjerde posted a message to Facebook this morning saying “unequivocally” that residents down that-a-way are “dismayed by the management” of the campus in recent years. Frustration permeates this story in the Fort Bragg Advocate-News. And that paper’s editorial on the matter, which doesn’t appear to be available online, sounds downright mournful.
“It will be a sad, even tragic, day in our history should this proposal come to pass,” the editorial reads. “The thousands of people who successfully pursued the vision of a local college can rightfully feel betrayed.”
While Smith is proposing a (hopefully) temporary shutdown, the Fort Bragg community is looking to dump CR entirely and align itself with another school, possibly Ukiah’s Mendocino College, according to Gjerde. The supervisor expresses concern about leasing out campus space, which CR has been doing for awhile. Three Rivers Charter School is located on the Mendo campus, for example, and CR spokesman Paul DeMark says other potential lessors have been contacted and have expressed interest.
CR board of trustees meetings are open to the public. Tomorrow’s starts at 1 p.m. in the new Performing Arts Theater at the Eureka main campus. If you can’t make it there in person, you can watch it online at redwoods.edu/_livestream.
Friday, March 7: 17 felonies, 13 misdemeanors, 0 infractions
Humboldt County Superior Court Calendar: Friday, March 7
Redwood Dr / Evergreen Rd (Garberville office): Mud/Dirt/Rock
3822 Us199 (Crescent City office): Mud/Dirt/Rock
Old Arcata Rd / Indianola Cutoff (Humboldt office): County Roads
9300 Mm1 (Garberville office): Traffic Hazard
Glendale Dr / Liscom Hill Rd (Humboldt office): CLOSURE of a Road
2800 Mm36 (Humboldt office): Trfc Collision-Unkn Inj
Redheaded Blackbelt: Rock Slide on Redwood Drive/ Road Not Passable
Watch Paul: That’s quite the swarm!
Times-Standard Breaking: Update: No stunami warning follows 6.9 quake, aftershock
Times-Standard News: Magnitude 6.9 earthquake 48 miles West North West of Ferndale, CA.
Ryan Burns / Thursday, Jan. 23 @ 11:50 a.m. / Education
Does Loleta Elementary School discriminate against Native American students? That’s what the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights wants to find out. It recently announced (pdf here) that it has launched an investigation of Loleta Union Elementary School District in response to a complaint filed by three agencies — the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, the National Center for Youth Law and California Indian Legal Services.
The complaint alleges that district staff harasses Native American students — both physically and verbally — based on their race, and that the district doesn’t respond adequately to complaints about it. The three groups also allege that staff disciplines Native American students more severely than non-Native students and discriminates against Native American students with disabilities.
The investigation comes on the heels of a lawsuit filed last month against Eureka City Schools. That suit also alleges racism and discrimination against minority students students with disabilities.
We have a call in to Loleta Elementary’s Principal/Superintendent Sally Hadden. We’ll update the post when and if we hear back.
Erika Diaz talks to challenger Lisa Ollivier and incumbent John Fullerton about their background and qualifications, their vision of the school board’s role, their support for vocational education and the district’s implementation of Common Core.
Ms. Diaz: Great job. Thanks to EHS’s Media Production Class and Access Humboldt for putting these interviews together and putting them online. Vote Nov. 5.
… or “Jimmy Kimmel, Start Your Engines!”
The Humboldt Journal of Social Relations has just published its long-awaited all-weed issue, “Current Perspectives on Marijuana and Society,” in cooperation with the Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research. The whole thing is available online, in PDF form, and there’s a whole lot to dig into.
HSU’s PR department highlights what seems to be the lead story: A paper by David C. Peters of Wayne State University puts forth research from Michigan showing that marijuana can be an effective “reverse gateway drug” — one whose usage can help wean addicts to opiates or prescription medication from those far more dangerous substances. A companion paper, by Rashi Shukla of the University of Central Oklahoma, aims to debunk the old marijuana-as-gateway-to-danger-drug hypothesis that has driven so much of marijuana policy for so long.
Elsewhere in the Journal:
- A NORML staffer writes on the difficulties of testing motorists for cannabis-related DUI violations
- A sociologist looks at a network of Florida small-time growers who are mostly in it for the fun
- A pair of papers look at problematic gender stereotypes in the Humboldt County grow scene and the drug policy debate
- A comparative look at local regulatory efforts in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and San Diego.
- Book reviews, book reviews, book reviews!
Meaty stuff! If anyone’s willing, I’d love to dig in and kick around the research and findings right here. LoCO Book Club time.
Press release from Humboldt State University:
HSU Journal Challenges Popular Marijuana Claims
A number of common assumptions about marijuana use require more scrutiny based on hard scientific evidence instead of limited anecdotal data, according to a Humboldt State University academic journal.
A wide-ranging special issue of the Department of Sociology’s Humboldt Journal of Social Relations cautions, for example, that the so-called ‘gateway’ concept—that marijuana consumption necessarily leads to harder drugs—is oversimplified. The sequence of individual drug use, whether one drug leads to another, appears to vary more than the gateway theory suggests.
In some instances too, according to one of the journal chapters, marijuana appears to be a ‘reverse-gateway’ drug that may reduce certain forms of opiate use among some patients.
The latest edition of the Humboldt Journal of Social Relations, published annually, comprises solicited, peer-reviewed contributions from a national audience of marijuana research specialists, most of them non-HSU academics. The editors were Ronald Swartz, chair of Humboldt State’s Department of Social Work, and Beth Wilson, chair of the Department of Economics. Humboldt State’s new Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research (HIIMR) sponsored the issue.
Co-editor Wilson, a member of the HIIMR, said there are too few scientific studies of marijuana because of the difficulty of obtaining data. “Given the changing legal landscape,” she emphasized, “it is increasingly important that we have a better understanding of marijuana’s effects on the economy, the environment and society.”
Added Swartz, “This collection of peer-reviewed articles supports a growing consensus in scholarly, professional and policymaking communities that expanded research is necessary to keep up with a rapidly developing marijuana-related landscape.”
One of the eight journal submissions cautions policymakers that there is no one-size-fits-all regulatory regime for cannabis. Notably, it says, there is a distinction between the palliative and curative effects of marijuana. Therefore “a dual regulatory approach may work best.” Some elements of the plant could be approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration and others could be sold as “herbal supplements,” according to the analysis.
Journal contributors underscore that hard empirical data are essential if the laws and regulations governing marijuana are to be effective and just. For example, field sobriety tests should be developed for driving under the influence of marijuana, one of the journal articles recommends, because it is more difficult to infer motor function impairment from blood tests for past marijuana use than it is for alcohol. Many states are adopting zero tolerance laws that focus on drivers’ past use of marijuana rather than present impairment. Such laws are premature because they will not be verifiable until accurate field sobriety tests can be set up.
Regarding the gateway controversy, contributors say that although there are numerous academic studies of whether marijuana is a gateway drug, the subject remains in serious dispute—again illustrating the need for more, and more comprehensive, scientific research.
Sgt. Todd Dokweiler of the Arcata Police Department confirms to the Lost Coast Outpost that police showed out in force in the Sunset area of town earlier this morning, after reports came in from Arcata Elementary that an adult with a rifle was seen on campus. The school went on lockdown.
However, Dokweiler said it was eventually determined that one kid saw a guy with a white squirtgun at some point this morning. That information passed from child to child, rapidly deteriorating in the process, until the panic alarm was sounded. All is clear now.