Calling 911 on a cell extends wait for emergency services in Trinity County

By Christine Ledman
Flapjack staff

Deep in the Emerald Triangle, response times for help can be anywhere from 10 minutes to seven hours or more depending on the distance between you and emergency services. Calling from a cell phone will always increase this response time adding a few additional minutes to 15 minutes or more depending on the situation.
911 services were installed in the early ’80s in California. All cell phone 911 calls are transferred to the California Highway Patrol’s Public Service Answering Points (PSAP). These PSAPs contact local dispatchers who will then dispatch police, fire, and ambulances. Landlines route directly to the closest local dispatcher. If you have a smart phone and have location services activated, the location will also be transferred to the PSAP to indicate exactly where you are calling from. The local PSAP will then call the local dispatcher and provide this information.
Trinity County does not have a PSAP. Cell phone calls from this area this area are routed to the PSAP in Redding or Sacramento. These folks hundreds of miles away will take the information from the caller and then relay this information to the Trinity County Sheriff’s dispatch, who will then page the needed assistance. Again, calling 911 from a landline will go directly to the Trinity dispatcher.
Hayfork and Weaverville have ambulance services available 24 X 7.
“We have seen delays of up to 10 minutes or more by the time we get the page,” said Ryan Howell, an employee of the Trinity County Life Support Ambulance Service.
Howell also said that 10 minutes can be the difference between life and death.
If location services is not turned on the delay can be even longer. The caller may have to describe where they are since there are not visible street addresses in most the county. Determining which county the call is originating from can be a major problem for the PSAP if the location is not forwarded with the call. It may take several minutes for the PSAP to determine which dispatcher needs to be contacted. This situation could possibly happen anywhere in California if the caller does not know what county they are in.
Trinity County has 13 small Volunteer Fire Departments. Roman Rubalcaba, a retired professional fireman became the Fire Chief in Hayfork. Rubalcaba said that the Hayfork Volunteer Fire Department of twelve people, 8 men and 4 women, receive approximately forty calls a month for fire, medical, and car accidents.
“I am working with the public to help them understand that if you call from a land line the call will go directly to the dispatcher in the Trinity County’s Sheriff Department, for the fastest response,” said Rubalcaba. “Many people here only have cells phones which just adds to our response time and sometimes makes it very difficult for us to find them, even if they are at home”.
One of the firefighters is Lisa Hammill of Hayfork.
“Sometimes we have to search for callers by location description and knowing there has already been quite a bit of time since the call came in it just adds to urgency of the situation,” said Hamill.
Hamill also spoke of the cell phone issue and how she is working with everyone she meets to make sure they understand how to set their phone up for fastest response.
Another option rather than 911 is to call directly to the Trinity County Sheriff’s office. The dispatcher said they received 7436 calls in 2016. They couldn’t provide how many of them were 911. One suggestion they had was to fill out a form to register your cell phone number with your home address and provide it to them. This would allow your home address to pop up if you do make a call to the Sheriff’s office rather than 911. It also allows them to reach out to you with urgent law enforcement or safety messages.
This number could be busy, so you might have to call back several times to speak to someone.
The Trinity Sheriff’s Department consists of the Sheriff and 7 deputies. This small crew covers 3,208 square miles and is backed up by the California Highway Patrol. A ten-minute delay in calling for help can make a big difference when the closest law enforcement may already be several hours away.
The quickest response times will always come from landlines but they are expensive. Most of Trinity County has only one provider, Verizon, so residents can’t shop around. The Federal Government has a program called Lifeline that assists low income people in getting cell phones and land lines. The Verizon representative said to qualify you have to have a valid non post office box mailing address which nobody has in Trinity County.
Trinity County Supervisor Bobbi Chadwick, a long-time Hayfork residence, was not aware of the situation with 911 calls.
“This is news to me, but sure seems like something that we should look into,” said Chadwick.
John Fenley, another Trinity County Supervisor was aware of the 911 differences.
“It is possible to ask Verizon to change this, but due to the cellular network configuration there is no guarantee that the call is originating in Trinity County,” said Fenley.
It does not look like there will be changes in the routing of 911 calls in Trinity County or anywhere in California at any time soon so it is important to have your cell phone set-up to provide your location information to assist in the fastest help possible.


Bassheads gather for night of funky vibrations

By Ben Goodale
Flapjack staff

The air is thick with moisture and music as people shuffle along the corridors of a crowded entrance hallway. The atmosphere of excitement grows steadily as the cacophony of sounds being released from large speakers in the main room rise in volume and gain more clarity.

Every Wednesday evening the Jambalaya (or as locals call it “The Jam”) holds a night of modern electronic bass music dubbed “Whomp Whomp Wednesday.” These events give opportunities to local electronic music artists or those who may be passing through the area to showcase for all to enjoy their unique and jaw-dropping music. It is a good place for many people in this area to connect with others or even learn more about yourself by listening to immensely vibrational sound.

Jambalaya owner Peter Ciotti thinks that these events bring people together with similar music taste and lifestyles.

“Being a musician myself, I can see the value that these events have within the community,” Ciotti says. “It’s important to have a space for people to express themselves without fear of judgement.”

At a break between DJs, the dance floor thins out quickly as a smelly tidal wave of sweat-drenched dancers makes its way outside to revel in the refreshing chill of the pacific coast.

Torran Korman, a 21-year-old psychology major who attends Humboldt State, thinks that these events are beneficial and good for the community.

“I feel like I can truly be myself when I’m in there,” Korman says. “That has lead to me meeting a lot of people that I consider close friends to this day.”

Grinning and rosy faces make their way back towards the promise of music in the heart of the venue.

The main stage is inhabited by a talented disc jockey and electronic music artist who goes by the stage name of “Psy Fi.” As he begins his set, he looks out the bobbing sea of faces and smiles, gleaming with appreciation at the opportunity to share his music with all of the people before him. The crowd reacts with a swelling cheer, beginning to wobble around and dance to the deep tones being produced.

While conversing with electronic artist “Psy-Fi”, also known as Oakland’s own Miles Ross, he gave his opinion of how the night went.

“The crowd here is really open-minded,” remarks Ross. “I felt like I could play some tracks that other crowds wouldn’t have gotten down to.”

As his set winds down, it seems that the source of energy for many people attending and dancing is also winding down; the dance floor becomes sparse quite suddenly as the speakers grow quiet, and the night of music comes to an abrupt end.

A walk through library history

By Lindsey Wright
Flapjack Chronicle 

Students rushed in and out of automatic sliding glass doors. Both student and teacher alike could be seen sitting in the café enjoying a steaming cup of their favorite beverage or nestled down in the workspace of their choosing. Amidst the usual hustle and bustle of the library’s first floor lobby, the grand opening of the new library exhibit, The Evolution of Information, began.

March is the Library Showcase month that coincides with the ongoing celebration of the HSU centennial year. This was just a kick off to all of the next seven events that the library staff has planned for the month.

Anna Kircher, the information technician chief working in the dean’s office, was responsible for finding the funds and giving permission for this exhibit to exist.

Kircher spoke highly of her fellow faculty and gave them praise for a job well done.

“Carly [Marino], Kumi [Watanabe-Schock], and Kaitie [Lasla] are three of the wonderful ladies who picked up this idea and ran with it,” said Kircher.

People started to gather around the nearly invisible glass windows encompassing the display of library history. With a large wooden canoe to their left, students sprint through time, only a few slowed to acknowledge the carefully selected and displayed artifacts on their right.

“This [the display] is setup from old to new as students walk through it. They can walk through time!” said co-curator Kathryn Beckley.

She and many others worked vigorously for two months to bring this exhibit to life. The exhibit will be up for the whole month. Beckley gushes about her favorite artifact, a photograph from the Erickson Collection.

“We selected artifacts that would be relatable to the students and to the centennial year. We also wanted this exhibit to promote the HSU library’s special collections from the Humboldt Room,” said Katie Lasla, one of the special collections librarians.

Everyone munched on the cookies placed out for the grand opening, and gazed at the old novels and textbooks or educated themselves on the fun facts scattered throughout the entire display. The constant flow of people through the exhibit created a nonchalant mood to the entire event.

Social networking, guilty pleasure

By Javier Rojas
Flapjack Chronicle

Sing Chew has worked at HSU for 24 years as a sociology professor and is one of many people that has noticed the increase in use of social networking. It has taken a big affect on our world today and the signs are everywhere. Whether it’s messaging on Facebook or tweeting away how your day went, the use of social media is everywhere. It’s changing the way we communicate and interact with each other. But Chew doesn’t have a Facebook page.

‘’I wouldn’t even know how to use it or care much for it,’’ Chew said. ‘’I see people always on their phones and texting, we are beginning to lose touch with each other and can’t even connect with one another.”

Chew said he believes that the technology that social networking has produced can be used towards something positive.

‘’I see it as something that if put in the right hands can propel us and change the way we interact,’’ said Chew.

Chew also thinks that social networking also has contributed to some people casting away from others. He finds it interesting to see how it has affected how many of us socialize with each other.

‘’We at times distance ourselves and bury our heads in our social world instead of actually interacting with each other and really has changed the way we communicate today,’’ he said. ‘’I see many people even find their wives on social networks. That would have been crazy 15 years ago but today it’s the social norm.’’

Many students here at HSU are always on the move and the only way they can keep up with others is through social networking.

‘’I use Facebook quite often to keep up with other friends see what they’re doing,’’ said Edgar Corona, 19 -year -old biology major. ‘’All these social networks are good but only to a certain point. Some people make it their life which is very unhealthy.”

Geology major Aaron Katz, 18, believes that social networks like Facebook and Twitter don’t have much of a useful purpose and they are eliminating face-to-face communication.

‘’It’s become an addiction to so many and is really not that healthy for you,’’ said Katz. ‘’I see in 10 years social networking keep growing and changing the way communicate. We won’t be sending letters to each other and we’ll lose that human element.’’

Moodle means innovation

Moodle logo used with permission from the Moodlemaster — aka Bill Bateman.

By Diover Duario
Flapjack Chronicle staff

Just about the only thing students at HSU use more often than Facebook is Moodle. Whether it’s checking emails, class schedules or printing syllabi it’s all there. But what is Moodle? What makes it work and how did it come to be so integrated in student life that it’s become synonymous with school business and student-teacher interaction?

Moodle is short for Modular Object Oriented Display Learning Environment. It is a type of Learning Management System (LMS) that has been a part of Humboldt State University for the better half of five years. What separates Moodle from the plethora of LMS available for University use is that it’s open source. Being open source allows it to be modified, customized and expanded in its use through plugin modules that increase Moodle’s service capability. Of the many colleges throughout Canada and the United States (including 10 Cal State Universities) HSU has the most customized Moodle module. Oh, and it’s free.

Moodle saves the school $100,000 a year, says Bill Bateman, the Moodle specialist at HSU. Moodle is a response to the steadily increasing demand in online, hybrid and distance-learning courses.

“Moodle is a tool no different from a power drill or a belt sander, to help students be successful,” Bateman says. And who’s to argue against PDF copies of lecture notes and diagrams readily available to save or print?

How has Moodle come about has among the most trusted and widely used LMS for universities and high schools around the country? Perhaps its Moodle’s origins that helped spurn its popularity.

Behind the software system lies a legend. “[Moodle] was said to have been put together by a bunch of drunk Australians, of which I’ve met several,” Bateman says. “It was someone’s senior project that took off; an early instance of going viral.” Sound familiar? The program evolved from the kegger parties to a more professional business platform that has allowed it to become a regularly updated software product for professional school use. It’s an educational tool made by students for students.

Moodle’s open source foundation allows it to be utilized in a number of different ways, many of which students should be familiar with through HOOP. Elluminate for instance is a program that allows students to have conferences with their instructors or advisors in an online setting complete with audio, video, and file sharing. This innovation allows countless to get in touch with faculty members before even arriving at HSU. Applicants from all over the world no longer have to be dropped in an unfamiliar setting with no prior interaction or familiarity. This serves for a more seamless transition and localization to the HSU system on the part of the student.

Moodle expansion also benefits students who don’t necessarily attend HSU.

“This is perfect for the individual who gets halfway through their B.A. and Aunt Edna gets hurt and (he or she) has to stop going to school,”  Bateman says. HSU has been spending the last 18 months developing new online, hybrid, and distance-learning programs. Bateman also revealed a new major update for Moodle: 2.3. It will allow for easy access and a user friendly interface for anyone on the go via phone device or tablet. All students are invited to try it and give feedback on the Moodle website.

Bateman and his crew of friendly Moodle specialists emphasize that Moodle us is not compulsory for students or instructors.

“We don’t push anything anywhere, we enable or empower,” he says. “There are some people who don’t use Moodle and it’s perfectly fine.”

But with faculty usage of Moodle up from 20 percent to 62 percent in the last 18 months, the trend is hard to ignore. The success of the Moodle team at Humboldt could be a testament to their emphasis on a user friendly experience. They will go to the classroom and stay late if need be. They listen to professors and students alike on their suggestions and implement popular opinions into the system. The new photos and contact information on the side for instance is a result of student suggestions to switch from an institutional interface to more of a social media layout.

This is not to say Moodle is the “be all end all” variable for student success.

Jamie Amiefarhi-Humphrey, a third-year computer science major and representative of ROBOT (Resident’s Official Board Of Technology) at HSU, explains that he’s had an up and down experience over the years. He points out the over time with more features came a much more complex interface.

“Although it is pretty useful for when I do accidentally sleep through class,” he explains.  Jamie does however seem to approve Moodle’s approach of empowerment.

“My best experiences [with Moodle] is when teachers put things up and says it’s here if you need it but it’s not mandatory and I won’t demand you use it every day,” he says.