Schools struggle to offer nutritious snacks

By Holly Condon

Flapjack Chronicle

Humboldt State University prides itself on its healthy and organic dining options for the residential students, but for many students, the school is still not doing enough.

Sociology major Tamara Valadez, 18, lives on campus and said she often struggles to find healthy meal choices.

“It is really hard to eat healthy,” said Valadez. “You have to put together your own meals, and there isn’t much to choose from.”

In the main dining hall, The J, students have access to the salad bar and fruit selections during meal times. Between meals, residents are limited to the selections in The Depot, or for late night food runs, one of the few small markets on campus.

The Giant’s Cupboard, for example, is the convenience store for most on-campus residents. It is open until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and until midnight every other day of the week. This would be the primary spot for a resident to get something to eat in the middle of the night if they don’t have a car to get off campus.

The HSU website for the Cupboard claims the store offers healthy snacks, but upon closer inspection, few were to be found.

The refrigeration cases are full of juice and soda pop. There is an entire wall of chips, surrounded by numerous shelves packed with candy and other junk food items. The closest things the Cupboard has to offer as a healthy snack are the Lunchables. Fresh produce is certainly nowhere to be found there.

The College Creek Marketplace is a resident’s best bet when looking for healthy foods at all hours of the day. While they, too, sell a plethora of junk food, vegan options and fresh foods are actually available to choose from.

Valadez explained that the dorms do supply the residents with food storage possibilities, but they are not always available to use.

“There’s the lounge,” said Valadez, “but the refrigerator is usually full of other people’s stuff.”

Sophomore English major from Cal State Fullerton, Katrina Van Dyke, noticed the same poor selection of healthy foods on her campus.

“The main restaurant for students is pretty good, but the grill that is open 24-hours sells mostly junk food,” Van Dyke said.

When students are unable to store food in their dorms, they are forced to eat whatever the school has to offer. Late at night, the school selection isn’t very nutritious.


The Bay Delta Conservation Project: What is it Conserving?

By Madi Whaley
Flapjack Chronicle

The Bay Delta Conservation Project released the new Draft Environmental Impact Report for public viewing on Monday, Dec. 9.   This plan had previously raised controversy on the grounds that it may pose serious threats to endangered fish species in the Delta.  The new draft is meant to assuage some of these worries.

“This would be the nail in the coffin, extinguishing at least two of those five species,” Bob Wright, senior counsel for Friends of the River, says of the previous draft.

The proposed plan would create water diversions further north in the Delta, which would alter the concentrations of salts in the water, which according to environmentalists, would essentially exposing the fish to waters they are not adapted to.  There are other possible methods of obtaining fresh water and the plan falters a bit in practicality because of the possible effects of climate change, so whether or not this is really the best idea is still being debated.

“[This is] what we view to be simply an unlawful process going on, particularly in violation of the Endangered Species Act,” Wright says.

Friends of the River believe the original project poses threats to five listed endangered species of fish.  This includes the Sacramento River Winter Run and Summer Run Chinook Salmon, Central California Coast Steelhead, the Green Sturgeon, and the Delta Smelt.  Construction of the tunnels could lead, Wright believes, to the extinction of at least 2 of those 5 species.

It remains to be seen whether or not some of the following concerns will be assuaged.

The proposed plan calls for the restoration and protection of about 145,000 acres of Delta habitat.  Carl Wilcox, policy advisor to the director for the Delta at California Department of Fish and Wildlife, is working on the plan for habitat restoration.

“The BDCP has 214 goals and objectives and those are at the natural community landscape and species levels, and consequently its conservation measures are designed to those in particular,” explains Wilcox

Nevertheless, the BDCP has received a hefty amount of criticism from various groups outside of the project who believe it could actually have detrimental effects on the delta habitat it proposes to protect.

“The advantage from the proponent’s side is that if water was diverted from the northern part of the delta there could be more effective screens to keep fish out of the diversions,” Jonas Minton, water policy advisor for the Planning and Conservation League and former deputy director of the California Department of Water Resources, says.

Minton explains that the current diversions are in the South Delta, which is essentially a slough.  Because of this, the fish sucked into that area generally die.

However, the project may not render the effect that it is looking for.

“The problem in placing a diversion in the north delta is that it would keep that amount of fresh water from mixing,” Minton says.  “The Delta is an estuary, where ocean water and fresh water mix.”

He went further to say that creating diversions in the North Delta would therefore likely change the salinity of the water.

“Fish species have evolved over the years from that mixed condition,” Minton says.  “Because the fish are native only to the delta, when you alter that salinity mix, it is quite possible that these fish will not be able to survive.”

Another less prominent concern is that of the endangered Sandhill Cranes.  The tunnels will be dug under Staten Island, which serves as a home for many Sandhill Cranes during the winter. Jane Wagner-Tyack, policy analyst at Restore the Delta, believes the “disturbance of Staten Island is going to be very bad for the Sandhill Cranes.”

The effects that climate change may have on undergoing this project is yet another issue to take into account.  Seeing as it is unlikely that we will be able to accurately predict the hydrological cycle in future decades, preparing for changes creates a potential problem.

Chris Austin, author of Maven’s Notebook, believes that climate change will be a sure obstacle in the creation of and the possible enactment of the plan.

“Climate change is definitely the big game changer,” Austin says.  “[It is] mostly incorporating sea level rise. They’re proposing to restore a lot of habitat but there’s a lot of uncertainty about whether that habitat is going to improve things.”

Wagner-Tyack and many other environmentalists agree.

“One thing that is pretty clear is that in California we have drought a third of the time,” Wagner- Tyack says.  “It’s a routine… When you add he uncertainty that is associated with climate change, it’s very hard to know how a system will be operated either for export use or for the ecosystem when we really don’t know.”

However, according to Wilcox, the potential impacts of climate change are being taken into account in the plan.

“What you see is that with climate change, with maintaining the status quo, water supply and the species get worse,” Wilcox says.   “[That] is accounted for in the modeling.”

The BDCP is challenged by many of those opposed to it who feel as though it only serves to benefit big agriculture in Southern California rather than the urban areas.

“It’s called a conservation plan,” Wright says.  “No, no, no.  It’s not a conservation plan.   It’s a water grab… Our point of view is that all this water is, is for subsidized, big ag.   That they’re the ones who want the giant tunnels, and they want the water, and they also want to be free to sell it to others.”

However, getting water supply to farmers may truly be a necessity.

“Its hard to paint agriculture as the big bad guy,” Austin says.  “We’re going to need more food for all these people that are going to be coming onto the planet.”

The proposal, made under the Brown administration, has become a controversy between the interest of agriculture and environmental advocates.  It would transport water from the Sacramento Delta to big agriculture and urban areas in Southern California via two large aqueduct tunnels.  It is expected to cost about $25 billion and require an estimated 50 years to complete.

Thus, with alternative water supply options, the question of whether or not the plan is necessary has been brought up for debate.  Some feel as though diverting water over such long distances could be an inefficient method of transporting water to Southern California.

The effectiveness of groundwater clean up and usage in Southern California is already being demonstrated by Irvine Ranch Water District.  Therefore, with the urban population in mind along with agricultural businesses, it is seen by some environmentalists as an inefficient way to get water to those in Southern California.  Many, like Minton and Wagner-Tyack, believe other methods, such as recycled water, cleaning and using groundwater, and creating storm water traps would be more sustainable and efficient ways to give Southern Californians good water.

“What we really need to be doing is investing in local infrastructure,” Wagner-Tyack says.

The Delta supplies water for 22 million people in California.  It also has over 1,800 agricultural users and supports about 500 plant and animal species.

“The delta needs to have more water running through it,” Austin says.  “Only a small portion of the water from the delta is exported—far more is actually diverted before it ever gets to the delta.  No one wants to give up their water, but the delta needs more outflow…  I think, truly, everyone needs to give something up for that. We could do better, certainly, on the conservation, and we need to.”

Still, the hope of the BDCP is to induce conservation efforts through implementation of the project.

“As the species have continued to decline, water supply reliability from the project has declined,” says Wilcox.  “So BDCP decides to look at things more holistically.”

With such a polarized issue, it may be difficult to find common ground between both sides.  However, action will be taken in some form.  What that form looks like might be different from what both sides have been hoping for.

“When you get down to the nitty gritty, maybe it’s not so bad,” Austin says.  “The answer’s always somewhere in the middle of the road.”

The new draft is now available for viewing and will be open for Public Comment from Dec.13 to Apr. 14, 2014 at

Dreaming of a non-commercial Christmas

By Garrett Walters
Flapjack Chronicle

Christmas is quickly approaching, a holiday of family, friends, togetherness, and of course, shopping. The experience of being crowded into a store on Black Friday and pushed about to get to things as simple as washclothes is enough to make anyone question holiday shopping. Though, for some, it is just unavoidable if they want to have a proper holiday season.

“It’s just part of the holiday, you know?” Michael Wells, 20-year-old Arcata resident, said in relation to the drive to buy. “It can’t be avoided, you have to have presents for Christmas.”

However, it turns out that here in the Humboldt area, not everyone agrees with this sentiment. As might be expected from a place with the mindsets that Arcata has a reputation for having, many prefer less conventional methods. However, among those that didn’t do Christmas shopping was one common thread: they just aren’t a big fan of doing it. Reasons why included that shopping just bores them, and that they just don’t like forced shopping. 20-year-old psychology major Curt Norman was among these.

“It should be a thing of finding something and being like ‘Oh, this reminded me of you!’,” Norman said. “It shouldn’t be forced. I don’t like shopping off of lists.”

Norman says that he prefers to give things like mix tapes, stories he has written, or things that reminded him of the person.

Another person that prefers to make things as opposed to buy them is Kayla Cimini, a 21-year-old English education major at HSU.

“I just feel like straight buying them … ,” Cimini said as she gathered her thoughts. “You could just put more time and effort into it then just buying a gift.”

Cimini’s preferred gifts to give are paintings such as block printing, which is what she is planning on this year, and making food, stating simply that everyone likes food. However, there was one other method that was brought to my attention, and that was simply not doing gifts. 30-year-old Will Hardy stated that the holiday shouldn’t be about gifts, just about family, so he just doesn’t do them. The popular belief however was that it should be a mix of the two, presents and family.

“Christmas should be about both I think,” Cimini said. “Isn’t the point of the presents all about showing others you care about them?”

Holidays warm up with friends at HSU

By Robin March
Flapjack Chronicle

While many students were visiting home as well as many out shopping for Black Friday deals, the Friday after Thanksgiving at HSU was just as delicious as the day before. Many students are unable to make trips home during the holidays due to cost as well as work and other responsibilities, so HSU students joined together to share the special meal with their friends and family who remained at school.

Nick Mazgelis, 20, a fisheries major, along with other friends from around school and the apartment complex he lives in gathered in and outside his apartment he shares Friday afternoon. Being from South Connecticut  Mazgelis has a hard time making the cross-country trip home during the holidays-this Christmas will be the first time he’s been home in over a year.

“This Christmas will be the first time I’ve been home and seen my family in over a year,” Mazgelis said as he arranged a few more bowls of food on the tables outside the patio of the studio apartment he shares with his friend. “It’s too expensive to make it across country for every holiday,” he continued, “but I have friends here who are staying for Thanksgiving also so we tend to have the dinner together.”

However, just because students stay near campus during the holidays doesn’t mean they’ve decided to not take part in them. Living up to the label of ‘community’, students have come together during their holidays away from home to celebrate with their families away from home.

Celebrating the holidays this year with friends has made being away from home during the holidays all the warmer. While the school offers a Thanksgiving dinner for students staying on campus as well as restaurants in the area having special deals, being able to share in the holiday with friends from school only brings the HSU family closer together.

Since Mazgelis knew he would be unable to share the Thanksgiving meal with his family he and some neighbors decided to cook and share together. He and his neighbor Ryan Quinn met early on Friday to begin cooking the meal that others had already indulged in. Quinn had been able to be home the day before and brought back leftovers as well as fresh food, and since Mazgelis was unable to be home his mom sent him money so he and his friends could buy a turkey.

“My mom sent me $20 in Safeway gift cards, and Nick’s mom sent the turkey,” Quinn, 22, a yoga student in Arcata said as he bent over to open the oven in the small kitchen to check on the carnivorous and vegan turkeys being cooked. A savory blend of herbs and spices filled the air but he re-closed the oven, shaking his head, insisting on more time.

Some students feel as though they don’t have many options when on campus for the holidays, but that is not the case. With the growing number of students coming together to share with each other during the holidays, students realize they have more options than being stuck on campus alone or having to make the pricey trip home to be with loved ones. Some students make the choice to be at school with friends for smaller holidays in order to save for the bigger breaks, especially since they now have their own family around campus.

Mazgelis and Quinn began moving the beer from the fridge to the patio and table outside the apartment as Mazgelis’ roommate and another friend continued to work on the food. Mazgelis and his roommate often have their friends over for dinner, so Thanksgiving dinner is nothing new and neither is the preparation or cooking. Mazgelis’ roommate Eric Cerecedes, 25, a wildlife major, said he looks forward to having people over and cooking for company. Indulging in crab and fishing seasons, he tends to bring something different in the form of seafood to the table.

The aroma of roasted garlic fills the air, and a crowded studio apartment fills with smoke as the oven is opened, show-casing the roasted green beans and garlic that had so strongly filled the air along with the awaited turkey. The sliding glass door leading to the patio and outside of the apartment is opened, however seconds later the fire alarm rings out of irritation of the smoke. The alarm is silenced, and dinner continues as planned.

As the rest of the food is pulled from the oven and arranged on the table outside, the group of friends gather together and raise beers to friendship, breaks from school, and the nourishment from the food.

Matthew Mannino, 22, a music major who happened to be in Arcata visiting, was humbled to celebrate with kind friends.

“It’s nice to know you don’t need to go home (for the holidays) to be home,” Mannino said as he watched the others enjoy a game of horseshoes near their meal. Although distant from blood family, the connection made among HSU students sharing in the seasons brings the campus family closer together.

Crabbing season opens in Humboldt

By Jacob Cheek
Flapjack Chronicle

It only comes once a year. Dec. 1 is the beginning of the dungeness crab season. Fishermen wait for this with anticipation. Fishermen are excited in Humboldt County for open season on dungeness crab. The fishermen here in Humboldt County thrive off the crab season especially since the North Coast is such a prime location to fish for crab.

Jeffrey Russell is a 20-year-old fisheries major  at HSU. Russell fishes commercially and recreationally for crab every year.

“Fishing for crab is exciting because the dungeness crab has a unique delicious taste,” Russell said. “I get excited when this time of year comes around because it is a change from salmon fishing throughout the year. It is such a different process for catching crab so it makes it a lot more interesting.”

Russell also worked commercially when it comes to catching dungeness crab.

“When I’m commercial crab fishing I get more excited than when I crab fish recreationally because the catch is a whole lot bigger,” Russell said.

Since the North Coast is such a popular fishing spot for catching crab there may not be much crab to go around for these fishermen.

“It can get extremely competitive out on the water,” Russell said. “You’re not always guaranteed a full load of crab when you go out because this season there is a shortage in Dungeness Crab.”

Whoever has the best bait typically catches the most crab.

Erich Coulter, a 20-year-old forestry major, has experienced the highs and lows of crab fishing.

“Fish heads and chicken are the best baits to use,” Coulter said. “When I use those baits I typically catch more but when I use other baits I come up short in the amount I’m trying to catch.”

Dungeness crab fishing is commercially big in Humboldt but many go out and fish for crab for fun and food.

“I sometimes like to go out there and catch crab because it puts food on the table,” Coulter said. “I’ll go out and catch seven to ten crabs and that will feed me for a few days.”

Roasain Murzatti, a 20-year-old wildlife major, just loves what it takes to catch the crab.

“The whole process of putting the pots together is what really excites me,” Murzatti said. “You never know what is going to be at the end of that rope when you pull the pot up. It could be nothing or it could be the catch of the day.”

For some, this is the first year out on the water fishing for crab.

Skip Gleason, the women’s assistant basketball coach here at HSU, just started fishing for crab this year.

“I purchased an ocean kayak just this past spring specifically for crabbing,” Gleason said. “It’s open and wide which helps me carry all my stuff.”

Gleason uses a Danielson style crab box which most crab fishermen use.

“With my bigger kayak it makes it a lot easier to pull out my traps from the water when I go pick them up,” Gleason said.

For Gleason this is a new experience.

“I’m embracing Humboldt County and Trinidad Bay,” Gleason said. “I’ve been eating crab for a long time but it’s great to be able to catch my own and cook it myself.”