Roller Derby see as practice round to prepare for future competition

By Omar Padilla-Lopez
Flapjack staff

This past weekend on Thursday, Feb. 9, the Redwood Rollers derby team was in an exhibition match locally at the Redwood Acres Fairgrounds in Eureka at 7:30 to 9 p.m. The Humboldt women had a friendly scrimmage in which it was not really counted against their actual season matches. They will either face against each other and have a friendly competition or they will face another local team or a team from another place or sometimes it being a public scrimmage in which anyone that is willing to compete.

The team faces the Lava City Roller Dolls from Bend, Oregon, in less than a week for an actual match.

Humboldt County has four roller derby teams:  Redwood Rollers, North Jetty Bettys, Widow Makers and the HRD B Team.  The Redwood Rollers, though, are the internationally ranked WFTDA charter team. The team features the top skaters from the North Jetty Bettys and the Widow Makers.

Austin Kelley from Arcata said it was enjoyable to watch local skaters compete against each other in a low-stakes scrimmage.

“Those are fun because there is not too much pressure,” she said. “And it is usually just to get the body going and in that zone of competition.”

Atreyu 26 , Barry’em, 6-ft Under ,and Bianca Swagger Fresh 2 Death are some of the skaters for the Redwood Rollers.

Watching them in this scrimmage was like watching an actual match because they treated it like one, with much aggressiveness and determination.

“It being a scrimmage it does not count too much against us,” said Atreyu 26.

The idea, players agreed, was to get better every time they compete and learn from all the mistakes.

“Roller derby is a different kind of sport and people approach it or watch it differently than others but it’s the team aspect that brings them all together, especially if it is a local team that one is rooting for,” said the Eureka Redwood Acres manager.


For Falcons fans, excitement turns to despair at a small-town Georgia party

By Denne Dickson
Flapjack staff

The small town of Conyers, Georgia, 20 miles southeast of Atlanta, was nearly shut down by 6 p.m. on Superbowl Sunday.

An hour earlier, grocery stores were packed with people buying though rarely anyone was working. Shoppers ran around stores like headless chickens. Conversations about the “bowl” happening on every aisle.

“This year we’re taking the troph,” one shopper said.

“Patriots don’t stand a chance,” another replied.

At the local gas station, Chevron promoted the game on every screen at every tank. The cashiers wore Falcons gear from hats to shirts. Cars sported Falcons flags on the front and rear ends of the vehicles. Every radio station seem to be promoting the screenings of the game. 

Several families were in their yards grilling and preparing for Superbowl. At one home, a Superbowl party was overseen by 36-year-old Lina Williams.

Williams wore a Falcons shirt and drank from a Falcons mug.

“Who are you rooting for?” she asked newcomers.

One visitor stated he was backing the New England Patriots and that cracked Williams’ smile.

“Are you willing to put some money on that?” she asked.

Inside a large flat screen television was tuned to the game. A spacious couch and several chairs surrounded the television. A large grill featured several foods cooking. A variety of beverages were on hand.

Reaching the end of the first quarter Falcon fans were hyped, jumping up and down, taking shot after shot of alcohol.

“Man that’s luck, it won’t last too long,” said 53-year-old Kenny Lewis.

By the top of the fourth quarter, Tahita Saleem is calling Lewis out on his earlier statement.

“Huh, what was that you said, Kenney?” she asked. “Do you have my money in cash or do I need to ride with you to the bank?”

Approaching the end of the game, Falcon fans had become silent, anxious to find out how the game would end.

“The game was rigged,” shouted 38-year-old Anissa Saleem as the game ended.

Falcon fans  agreed, walking away from the TV abruptly.  

The Falcons are the underdogs,” said 20-year-old David Chappelle. “They have both a good pass game and good rush game offensively and, as for their defense, their secondary is very shaky and iffy. But they have a very good pass rush and it is understandable how Tom Brady made a comeback. They don’t have enough experience to keep up for a long intense game.” 

The party organizer despaired at the outcome.

“The Superbowl is about profit,” Williams said. “We Georgians spent all this money for a game that was rigged. We’ll wake up tomorrow and get right back to slavery, making up for all that we’ve wasted today.”

Dentist by day job: A local author’s first book launch (add source)

Author Richard Benoit speaks to a crowd of friends, family, and literary lovers during the launch of his first book on Feb. 8.




























By Grace Becker
Flapjack staff

Is your dentist an author? If you see Richard Benoit, DDS for all your dental needs, then yes.

On the rainy evening of Wednesday, Feb. 8, local Arcata denizens gathered in the library fishbowl for the book launch gathering of Benoit’s book “A Pinch of Powder.” The room was filled mostly with older folks, contrasted against the many college students just outside the glass room studying for their classes.

Benoit started off humorously, as he knew most of the room personally.

“Those of you who know me know I’m not a writer by day job,” he said. He was never interested in writing, studying science all through college, and remembers being intimidated by writing. It wasn’t until after he graduated from dental school and spent a year in Guatemala that the writing began. “I should write about that,” he remembered thinking about his experiences.

His first time writing didn’t exactly go smoothly. After writing 2000 pages (of which he admitted being very critical of), he put the book away and hasn’t looked at it since. He admits being naïve as he was writing “A Pinch of Powder,” and didn’t realize how much went into getting published – writing, reading, editing, marketing, and so on.

“It’s all a part of the process,” Benoit said, mentioning that he is very grateful for his editor, though he added that the two of them “did not agree” at times during the process.

Since that first attempt, however, Benoit has written several books, both for adults and children. He has nine books finished, and when someone asked him how he changed from being uninterested and intimidated by writing to having written nine books, Benoit credited being less inhibited – by being out of school full time, he has more time and more inspiration for writing.

The book is for both children and adults. It is the first book in his Pulvology Series – Pulvology being a word made up by Benoit to mean “the study of powders.” It was born from stories he told his children when they were younger, and now finds itself a full length novel. Benoit read a bit from his book during the launch. The audience got to meet the young protagonists, Jim and Carries Hughes, who find themselves in the company of the eclectic Mrs. Simonson after they move to Ohio from Oregon.

Benoit mentioned wanting to have strong female characters in his book. He’s heard about girls being uninterested or discouraged from getting into science, and wanted to show that science could be fun. He also made mention of the current political administration being somewhat anti-science, adding another aspect of social awareness to the overall writing.

This being his first book launch, Benoit was welcomed warmly by those in the room, and everyone cared deeply for the author’s effort and intent. The aspect of a small town coming together to celebrate a friend and neighbors accomplishments was present in the library fishbowl. Benoit mentioned naming the main characters of his book after close friends, one of which who was sitting in the back of the room near me. The man called Jim smiled and laughed as Benoit gestured to him, the honor of having been a namesake evident on his face.

“It’s fantastic,” Jim said after the fact. “I’m overjoyed.”

While the book had just been released, not many people were able to comment on its contents. Those present, however, had faith in Benoit’s writing ability and by the end of the event all copies the author had for sale were bought, signed, and in the eager hands of readers ready to devour them.

Benoit has the next two books in his Pulvology Series finished, so if you’re interested in giving “A Pinch of Powder” a read, you won’t have long to wait for the next leg of the story.

Click here to see more info about “A Pinch of Powder.”

HSU’s Superbowl party features corn dogs

By Nicholas Vasquez
Flapjack staff

Humboldt State University throws a Super Bowl party in the bottom of Jolly Giant Commons (or the J) annually.  There was an abundance of free food and drinks supplied, with plenty of couch space to sit and enjoy the game.

The game was one for the books, and freshman business major Zachary McCormick was pleased with the outcome.

“I really enjoyed watching the game at the bottom of the J,” he said.  “The food was excellent, and the fact that the Patriots won just makes it even better.”

Other fans were not as pleased as McCormick with the Patriots overtime victory, as freshman kinesiology major Jaye Washington was distraught after the game.

“I am just very disappointed in the Falcons,” he said.  “But the taste of the free corn dogs down here definitely helps out with my sorrows right now.”

There was a great amount of corn dogs, and pretty much every soda that one could imagine.  They also provided ice water and iced tea as healthier options, and if these items were not satisfying enough, the Giant’s Cupboard was in the end of the room, so students could purchase snacks with their identification cards.

Freshman kinesiology major Parker Irusta was pleasantly surprised by the party.

“I was skeptical about a Super Bowl party ran by the school,” he said.  “But they did a really good job.  The food was great, and the Chub (Giant’s Cupboard) was right there so it was very convenient for me.  Overall it was a great environment to watch the game.”

This Super Bowl was historic, as it was the first in history to go into overtime.  The Patriots won by a score of 34-28, which capped off a 25-point comeback.

Love speaks at Siren’s Song Tavern

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

By Bailey Tennery
Flapjack staff

Red curtains were draped along the walls of the Siren’s Song Tavern. A live artist painted on a blank easel. Fold up chairs were set up, but there weren’t enough chairs to seat everyone who came to listen to the brave people who went up to the microphone to share what they had prepared .On  Feb. 2,  from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m., Therese FitzMaurice and Vanessa Vrtiak hosted a poetry slam night in downtown Eureka to connect the community .This month’s theme was love in all its many forms.

DJ Goldylocks’ real name id Jay Collins, 29. Collins spun records throughout the night. Before DJing he worked for a pirate radio station. Goldylocks was his alias name. The name originated from his best friend’s younger brother. Collins used to go to the Accident Gallery where the poetry slam used to be held. He loved going, but wanted to do more.

“I’ve known Vanessa since childhood we grew up in Mckinleyville together,” Collins said. “When she came back from Santa Fe, I told her I wanted to DJ for her.”

Not all speakers who performed read poetry. There was a political rant, a scripted theater performance, a music solo, and one short story about a robot learning to love.

Erin Eckis, 25, is a Humboldt state graduate. Currently she works as care a taker for disabled adults. Eckis tries to go to these events as much as she can.

“I learn something about myself when I listen,” said Eckis. “Spoken word moves something inside of me.”

A local filmmaker Eileen Mcgee ,65, arrived early to the Tavern to set up her video camera. Each participant who went up to speak was filmed.

“People share, we can all relate,” said Mcgee. “This provides a political forum to put on television.”

Mcgee puts the footage on a website called The site is a community based nonprofit. Mcgee has been filming for more than 10 years. She has been filming poetry slams going on 5 years.

Co-host Vanessa Vrtiak an inmate program coordinator in Eureka created a friendly and welcoming environment. Vrtiak mixed profanity into her speeches when holding the mic in her hand.

“I have no filter, no one will remember this,” said Vrtiak as she laughed. Mcgee sitting behind her camera waves a hand to gets Vrtiak’s attention then quietly she pointed to the video camera.

“The camera will remember, and so will you I guess,” said Vrtiak.