Stephen Gieder — local cannabis event organizer and business visionary

Stephen Gieder

By Monica Robinson

Flapjack staff

After a troubling incident a year and a half ago Stephen Gieder intervened an unbalanced fight in the back alley of the Plaza in Arcata, California. While walking away, after believing he had verbally resolved the altercation, Gieder was attacked and struck down. He said there were at least 15 witnesses nearby and not one person checked in or offered to help.

Gieder was disturbed when he saw how disconnected people have become from one another and wanted to help elicit change. Gieder gave a good ol’ Facebook rant and set up a meeting at the Jambalaya in Arcata. To his surprise 35 people showed up.

“He wants everyone to be involved, keep people connected and rise the vibration,” says Sasha Miksis, 33, Gieder’s friend and co-worker.

The first two meetings identified problems and came up with solutions. The CPP started Street Clean Up on Fridays, which expanded to free yoga on the plaza Saturdays and the Plaza Play Group for kids on Sundays. The safety task force, created by the city of Arcata, deals with the same issues and works in conjunction with CPP.

Gieder was born on Oct. 27, 1976. and grew up in Pennsylvania, where he attended Williamson Trade School and studied horticulture and landscape design. After graduating and spending a year in Colorado, Gieder realized he wanted to be a part of the cannabis industry. Gieder drove across country towards Humboldt County and stopped near Lake Tahoe. While visiting Tahoe he went out for coffee and donuts and came back an hour and a half later with a job. Three years later, while walking his dog, he stumbled across Stan “the man” and Steve Muller opening a hydroponic shop in 1998.

As a graduate in Horticulture and Landscape design, Gieder would sit in the shop and consult the store owners when it first opened. At the time people didn’t really understand the science of it, but he had the knowledge and background to help people.

“Some people’s minds work scientifically; my mind works horticulturally,” Gieder says. This experience inspired Gieder to start his own horticulture supply store in Humboldt County.

Gieder started Northcoast Horticulture Supply in 2002. NHS sells cultivation supplies to indoor and outdoor farmers in Humboldt County at its four retail locations in Fortuna, Eureka, Arcata and McKinleyville.

In order to get the best product and deliver it at the lowest possible price, Gieder started Humboldt Wholesale, a nationwide manufacturer and distributor of specialty garden supplies. This allowed him to import from Holland the finest production nutrient line in the world, House & Garden.

“Steve’s a doer,” Ken Hamik, 59, Gieder’s business partner, says. Hamik wants to write a book on him called “Gieder Done.” Gieder embodies visions more than most people.

“Steve is where the rubber meets the sky,” Hamik said. “He starts and finishes things.”

After nearly a decade of being the sole distributor of House and Garden in the United States, Gieder purchased the company and moved manufacturing of the nutrient line to Arcata, California.

Gieder has always taken pride in building the local economy and continues to do so by employing over 100 individuals. For the 15 year anniversary of NHS, Gieder hosted an employee party the Arcata Theatre Lounge with live music and free food.

“He really does care about all of them, their family life and what’s happening at home,” Miksis said.

“You know that saying Kevin Bacon is six degrees of separation from everyone? I call Steve one degree,” Hamik said. Gieder’s fundamental businesses in Humboldt have enabled him to meet so many people here.

“Everyone knows Steve and Steve knows everyone for the most part,” Hamik explains. As a creative yielding local entrepreneur and cannabis advocate, Gieder began the consulting firm Humboldt Green.

Hamik describes Humboldt Green as one the most unusual businesses he’s ever worked for. “It’s a very difficult animal to describe to somebody,” Hamik said. It’s an event producing and community organization; a type of economic ecosystem trying to figure out how all the pieces fit together. Everywhere from cannabis infused yoga, Humboldt’s Om lead by Miksis to the Hummingbird Healing Center a dispensary reopening in McKinleyville lead by Hamik and Gieder.

Gieder has put together a highly qualified consulting team developing a new standard for cultivation which exceeds anything that exists right now. Humboldt Green looks after the environment, livable wages and makes sure people have good jobs. In a way it is like an incubator for people who don’t know what they want to do but leave with a more crystallized vision for themselves or their business.

With 11 years under its belt, Humboldt Green Week continues to bring people together for events that enrich the community. Thousands of dollars in donations continue to support local Non-Profit Organizations. The importance of education through art, music and gardening events is very important to Gieder and his crew.

Gieder stresses that Green Week gives people a moment to get away from daily distractions and enjoy doing good for the environment while having the chance to connect with the community they are helping build. Miksis explains that folks are riding this cannabis culture’s wave into mainstream living. Gieder wants everyone to come along and succeed rather than be on top.

“He genuinely cares,” she says.


Survivors ‘Take Back the Night,’ sharing truths of sexualized violence

By Dajonea Robinson
Flapjack Staff

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Ravin Craig, health educator at Humboldt State University, feels that the power of surviving is different for everyone because. Not everyone will feel like a survivor when it comes to sexualized violence. “Survivor” was not a label that Craig used for a long time. It wasn’t until she was much older until she heard that word.

“When I first heard it, I rejected that word completely,” Craig said. “Later the word survivor became to mean a lot to me. I think it’s really powerful to claim that this didn’t beat me, it didn’t stop me from existing it and didn’t stop me from moving on. There’s a lot of power in surviving but it’s not the only way.”

It’s a personal choice to tell one’s truth but if whomever chooses to can it can be incredibly powerful.

Take Back the Night 2017 is a week of events to bring awareness to sexualized violence as it’s meant empower survivors as is dismantles the cycle of abuse among survivors; whether it be female, male, trans or non gender conforming people. Take Back the Night week gives survivors a platform to reclaim self worth as one reclaim control of their life. It allows survivors of sexual assault to feel supported as they stand in solidarity with their allies. Take back the night week is a time where education and deconstruction of internalized culture happens s resistance flourishes.

“The first time I went to Take Back the Night I heard other people talk about things that also happened to me and say them out loud,” Craig said. “It was something that nobody talked about at all, and I couldn’t understand what was happening. I went to Take Back the Night by accident the first time. It is incredibly powerful to be able to have a space where you can say something that you have had your whole life that you couldn’t talk about before. To then have people there to listen and hear you, be compassionate and not judge you based off [your story], for me it was instrumental to my survivorship.”

Craig was not sure why she chose to share her truth at the “Survivor’s Speak Out” of Take Back the Night. 

“ I was so emotional and so heartbroken that I  felt that I was going to explode if I didn’t say something at that point,” Craig said. “The first time I talked at TBTN it was similar and I kind of hoped to help other people who were like me. [I spoke up] so they can know that there is somebody else like them walking around on campus. Now as a staff member who is not a student I really feel that way.”

Craig believes that it is important to have people in faculty and staff positions who are also survivors of sexualized violence. Not saying that people should be survivors but, mainly representation is important.

Craig says she doesn’t know where her courage came from to speak against her injustices during TBTN.

“I don’t know about the word courage because, mostly I’m terrified especially when I’m talking about it,” Craig said. “Maybe it’s courageous to do something even though you’re scared. It’s really hard for me to identify with the word courageous but mostly I try to do what I can. Sometimes things come out wrong and sometimes they come out well. I think for me, my family [is my] point of courage, my community and myself as I get to know myself.”

Craig believes that reclaiming one’s strength can come in many ways. It’s all about education, and doing the work to resist rape culture through changing people’s minds. Craig does this by telling her story out loud as often as she can. She believes that this courageous act can be reclaiming and extremely empowering.

“I think that for survivors it’s okay to have your survivorship be the way that it is,” Craig said. “It doesn’t have to be the way that other people exist. Your story and your experience is your experience and it doesn’t have to be anyone else’s. So don’t let anyone tell you that you have to forgive, and don’t let anybody tell you you have to be angry. You don’t have to be a certain way or at a certain stage. Get help if you need it because there are people who are willing to support you.”

Oceana Madrone, artist for the Arcata Artisans Gallery believes  that it is important to share your story because  when someone keeps a secret they’re isolated and alone. That isolation and that secrecy keeps the alone. when they start to tell their story they realize that they’re not alone. Madrone also has confidence that it is also an important part of the healing process because, it’s the beginning of the healing process.

“I wanted  to offer a ray of hope to other survivors who are at the beginning of their healing journey,” Madrone said. “I could feel the pain and the feeling of being hopeless as though it’s always going to be this way. Because, I’m older I’ve had so many years to work on my healing process and I know that it is possible and it is so worth it. I’ve gone from hating myself to liking myself and everybody should like themselves. (Insert warm chuckle). I’ve gone from feeling unloved and unlovable to being cared for, and that is a feeling that everyone should be able to experience. When you don’t love yourself you don’t really believe that everyone else should love you, even if they do you don’t believe that you should because you don’t love yourself.”

Madrone says that allies must offer support and try not to take over the healing process for somebody else. Allies can offer love and support while they do it for themselves. Madrone resists by telling her story and by going to counseling for many years.

“I found my voice through art by making quilts, gals and beadwork,” Madrone said. “ I found my voice through that and I could share [it] with other people that also can be helped with my healing process.”

Madrone also found her voice  by finding people  who believed her and gave their full support without questioning her.  There’s a lot about victim blaming without actually hearing the victim. Madrone thinks that everyone can end sexualized violence by standing together and  not accepting rape culture as a normal standard. To resist and boycott movies and books that involves sexualized violence. Yet most importantly,

“[We must] hold the people who do [sexualized crimes] accountable, it takes the community to do that. We can’t expect a survivor to do it alone.”

Paula Arrowsmith-Jones, community outreach facilitator and campus advocate for North County Rape Crisis Team, said that the power of surviving can be regaining of some sense of control. This can be done by survivors making their own decisions of how to move forward. It’s also important to have their choices respected because it is their choice.

“Sharing of truth and being believed is important for some people at Take Back The Night,” Arrowsmith-Jones said.” “It can be more private for some people, the thread of it all is being listened to and believed. They do not have to speak out it is their decision. No one asks and no one deserves to be hurt. Survivors are often blamed for their assault. So anyone must not pass any  judgement of any choices the survivor made because, that was the best choice for them at the time. The beauty of working at the Rape Crisis Center is being able to witness the healing of survivors as they manifest their own future because, healing is possible.”


North Coast Rape Crisis 24 Hour Hotlines

Del Norte:(707) 465-2851

Humboldt: (707) 445-2881


HSU Women’s Resource Center

Office Phone: (707) 826-4216


‘What Now?’ Paying respect to David Josiah Lawson

By Casey Barton
Flapjack staff

In the early morning hours on April 16, 19-year-old HSU student David Josiah Lawson was fatally stabbed at a social gathering on Spear Avenue in Arcata, California. Lawson’s passing has continued to stir conversation on-campus since his memorial service.

This event not only saddens community members as a loss of young life, but as a possible case of racial hate crime. Students are concerned with their own safety and campus ideals. After a few days the community was eventually granted details to the event.

According to the Arcata Police Department’s Press Release on April 18, authorities were notified of an altercation at 3:02 am Saturday morning and responded within a minute of the initial call. When officers arrived, they found that Lawson had been stabbed multiple times and was bleeding heavily. His close friend and fellow Brother’s United member, Elijah Chandler, was performing life-saving procedures on Lawson as he moved in an out of consciousness. Authorities detained 23-year-old Mickinleyville resident Kyle Zoellner at the crime scene and proceeded to take Zoellner to the Humboldt County correctional Facility, booked under homicide. David Lawson was taken to Mad River Community Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

On May 5, after four and a half days of testimony, a judge dismissed charges against Zoellner, citing insufficient evidence to connect the suspect with the crime.

Chandler testified in court and also in interviews, describing the event in clear detail once he was able to respond to the stabbing incident. His comments point toward the possibility of Lawson’s attack as racially motivated.

“The only thing I heard – it was monstrous, in my opinion – was the two Caucasian women,” said Chandler. “Now that the police had arrived and were just making sure the assailant was going to be OK and that nobody touched him, the women were saying, ‘I really wish that nigger does die. I really hope that nigger dies.’”

The two women referenced by Chandler had apparently been connected with Zoellner during the initial altercations.

At Lawson’s memorial service held in the campus’ Kate Buchanan Room on Thursday, April 20, his family members and campus Brother’s reminded the community of Lawson’s incredibly successful life.

“Are you gonna allow racial tensions or anything like that matter? To cause you to now stop and throw your hands up and say you can’t continue on,” said Phil Griggs, David Josiah Lawson’s hometown pastor. “If you do, you’ve missed the purpose of Josiah’s life. If you do, you’ve missed the purpose of your life.”

As one who saw Lawson grow into young manhood, these words noticeably comforted the audience.

“All of us are alike ‘cause your eyes are the biggest liar in the world,” said Katauri Thompson another Brother’s United member. “Look past what you see on the outside and know what’s inside, whether it’s knowledge, power, and love. Josiah was all of that.”

“This is the hard part where we ask for the community: What now?”

Lawson will be continually memorialized in the hearts of many throughout the HSU community and especially those who he has met along the way. Even though his presence on campus was halted by this sudden event, Lawson made his time memorable and accomplished many admirable goals including his election as president of the Brother’s United club and succeeding in his Criminal Justice studies.

Many can learn from this event, not only from its unfortunateness or lesson in communal safety, but as a reminder to keep living by the positivity and respect that one would expect for themselves or say, even their own child. Lawson was known to treat others with that respect and it was a shared gift to have him as a part of the Humboldt State University community for as long as we did.

Rest in peace, David Josiah Lawson.

Living off the grid in the hills of Southern Humboldt

By Cody Centeno
Flapjack staff

In order to live off the grid – without PG&E, provided water, etc. – you have to be willing to put in a lot of work to get things that come easily when you are on the grid. For instance, instead of just turning on your electric heater, you might have to build a fire with wood that you had to gather and cut yourself. This article was written to help readers better understand what life is like when you are off the grid, and to help understand why people would want to live this way.

Charles Watson live in Piercy, California, a small town about 80 miles south of Arcata, with a population under 200. Piercy is smack dab in the middle of the Emerald Triangle, where Humboldt and Mendocino counties meet on Highway 101. Watson has lived off-the-grid in the area for over 40 years. He gets his water from a natural spring.

“First, you have to find a viable spring,” Watson said. “Then, I build a small dam that still allows the stream to continue flowing, but also catches enough water for me. I fill up the area where the water will be with small gravel, which will filter the water slightly.”

Once you have this small dam in place, he says that you run your water line from there to your water tanks, but it isn’t always so simple.

“If your spring is above your tanks, you will usually be able to benefit from the gravity flow,” Watson said. “But, if your tanks are above your spring, you will have to buy a water pump to get the water to it.”

From your tanks, you run your water through a pipeline to your house. Again, Watson said that the gravity flow aspect is important. He also talked about keeping a spare water tank.

“We have a spare tank on our property, just in case the spring slows down in the summer time,” Watson said. “If it does slow down, we can use a water pump to bring in water to the house from our spare tank while the primary tanks slowly fill up again.”

Piercy resident Patrick Landergen has owned his property since 2004. He heats his home with a wood stove in the winter.

“During the summertime, I have to cut wood for burning during the winter,” Landergen said. “When I’m out looking for wood, I try to take trees that are already fallen instead of killing a healthy tree.”

He must cut each tree in to “rounds” using his chainsaw, which are 12-14 inch long sections of the log, and then split them with a maul, which is a slightly dulled axe with a head that gets thicker from front to back.

“Once you find or cut a tree, you cut it in to rounds with your saw, and split it down small enough to fit in the woodstove with a maul,” Landergen said. “If the wood is wet, I let it dry out for the rest of the summer, and once it’s dry, I take it home and stack it until the winter.”

He also made it clear that he has a favorite kind of wood to burn.

“Madrone is all the I burn,” Landergen said. “Out of tanoak, fur, and everything else that I have tried, nothing burns as evenly or clean as the madrone does. When I burn tanoak, I have to clean my chimney out once every to weeks. With madrone, it is once per month.”

When it comes to powering your home, one common option in the hills of Humboldt is a diesel generator. That’s what Dan Bittick, a Southern Humboldt resident since the 1980s by his account, uses.

“Installing and running a generator is not necessarily easy,” Bittick said. ” You have the cost of the generator, the batteries and the inverter.My current power system cost me over $12,000 and many hours of labor, but that’s still cheaper than having PG&E run power lines up here.”

Aside from the initial setup, which is a lot of work wiring things in, burying wire, and doing other things, you have to maintain the generator throughout its life as well.

“I change my oil every month, and I also have to keep an eye on things like the fuel filter, solenoids, and diodes. How often you maintain your generator usually depends on how many hours you run it for per day,” Bittick said. “I run mine for eight hours per day, and oil changes every month have kept my generator running for over 10 years now. With the right care, you can make these things last decades.”

Those who live off-the-grid agreed that it is very rewarding to be able to produce for yourself with little to no help from the outside world.

Race in Humboldt: Outside the Bubble


by David Crowfield II
Flapjack staff

After the 2015-2016 school year, I decided to stay in Humboldt for the summer. At the time I was trapped in this false illusion that Humboldt was a welcoming place to all, but I soon came to realize that the bubble HSU creates for its students did not expand beyond the campus.

During my stay I worked at the local Target, as a cashier. I had good and bad experiences with customers, but the worst of them came from the locals who seemed to have had racial bias. They would not come to my line even if the other lines were full and when they finally came to my line they would not make eye contact, they would rush me, throw the money, and would have an attitude.

On HSU’s campus one feels welcomed like they are apart of a big family. Many of the students at HSU come from similar backgrounds (The Hood). Growing up in The Hood one can only dream of making it out. Our neighborhoods are filled with corrupt school systems, drugs, crime, and racial segregation. For minorities in America, we strive to prove negative stereotypes wrong, by attending college to better our communities. Viewing college as a safe haven for many, escaping all of the troubles of The Hood.

On November 13, 2015, Robin and Shannon were assaulted by two unidentified white men. They had bottles thrown at them and beer sprayed on them They were taunted with racist remarks and chased by the two men. The students got away successfully and told proper authorities that this was a racially motivated attack. The two women had wanted to attend Humboldt State because they felt they could escape the nightmares of The Hood, but little did they know they were going to face hate crimes.

Ketly Sylla, a friend of the two women, gave insight on how this community view people of color.

“When I first got here I was excited about coming to college and sharing new experiences with new friends,” says Sylla. “But I wasn’t able to do that because I came here and faced new challenges and I’m not talking about academics. I go out into town to enjoy myself and I get looks from white people, like I’m going to rob them or something. Getting racially profiled is not a comfortable feeling.”

A lot of students of color feel unwelcome in Humboldt beyond the campus bubble because of their skin color. Many have questioned themselves on why they should stay in a place where they feel unwelcome. Sidney Broussard, 20, a marketing major at HSU, believes the people outside of the bubble are the way they are because of our institutions.

“If one is a person of color in America, one never gets to take off those glasses,” Broussard says.  “Racism is deeply rooted in our culture and defines society for black and brown people. There is a set of racially biased structures entrenched in the institutions that make up or society and the default setting is white.”

What is race? As defined by Urban Dictionary, race is a biological term used to classify living things.

What is race? bell hooks defines race as a system of power and privilege.

What is race? Race is something more than color. Race is something that divides us in this world. Race is the root of majority of physical, emotional, and mental crimes.

Race has played a big factor in the formation of American. From the founding of this country, African Americans have been considered second class citizens. We were brought over on slave ships, and in the American Constitution we were once considered 3/5 of a person. American society has been made to exclude people of color and social media has depicted us as menace to society.

A College of the Redwood communication major gave some great insight on how African American people are depicted in the media.

“I think that we as African Americans, need to speak out more to the media so that they can not keep portraying our heritage as violent in movies and TV shows. Even though the African American ethnicity is the most copied in the world.”

This is an ongoing matter that African Americans have to face day in and day out. People of color feel as if they need to stick together because of the way we are depicted in the media and the way we are viewed outside of the bubble. The media and the culture of America has helped create a society full of racism.