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Updated: 3 months 6 days ago

Despite many potential fits, the Giants have left this key role vacant since July

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 5:00am

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.–When the Giants traded Cory Gearrin to the Texas Rangers last July, they lost more than just a veteran reliever.

The move also left them without a union representative.

Seven months after the Giants sent Gearrin to Texas in a cost-cutting deal, the position he once held remains vacant.

Gearrin took over for longtime rep Matt Cain last spring as the frontman for the Giants with the Major League Baseball Players Association and was always willing to discuss various issues around the game. In the past week, many of Gearrin’s old teammates have become more outspoken about labor relations matters, but none have assumed his previous role.

In the interim, that’s by design.

“I think we all have a responsibility,” catcher Buster Posey said. “The Players Association is not about one person or one group, that’s the strength of the PA is the unity of it.”

At the Giants’ media day and FanFest this weekend, Posey was one of several veterans who made pointed remarks about competition issues across the sport. Many of the game’s highest-profile players have lamented the slow pace of free agency and the willingness of certain organizations to “tank,” but Posey has rarely been vocal about controversial topics.

As he enters his 10th full season in the league, that is changing.

“I don’t think there’s one fan base that has an MLB team in the city or close to them that doesn’t want a team to be competitive,” Posey said at FanFest. “So I think somehow, the notion that it’s not okay to be competitive for any window of time has become acceptable and I think that’s my issue.”

Great news for Phils fans. But shouldn’t every team be in a win-right-now mode? What is the point in showing up if you’re not trying to win? Thankful for being in an organization that wants to win!

— Buster Posey (@BusterPosey) February 9, 2019

A union representative is responsible for taking the discussions from the clubhouse to the MLBPA’s executive board, where representatives from all 30 teams work to find solutions for the game’s most pressing issues.

Posey is a strong candidate to replace Gearrin when the Giants do decide to name their representative, but he’s not the only in-house option who could succeed at the job. During a Q&A session at FanFest, third baseman Evan Longoria and starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija provided thoughtful and nuanced answers to a wide range of questions about the current state and the future of baseball.

On the subject of a universal designated hitter, Samardzija explained that he would like to see rosters expand to 26 players and the total number of rostered pitchers limited before approving a change. When discussing free agency negotiations, Longoria pointed at young center fielder Steven Duggar and said veteran players have a responsibility to advocate for the rights of younger teammates like Duggar who don’t have a chance to earn more substantial salaries until later in their careers.

As tension between players and ownership increases, union reps will have to navigate through rough waters. The current collective bargaining agreement doesn’t expire until after the 2021 season, but players are increasingly frustrated with issues relating to competition and compensation.

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With pitchers and catchers set to report to Scottsdale, Arizona on Tuesday, the Giants roster still lacks outfielders with any significant major league experience. That’s become a source of frustration, especially as talented players like 33-year-olds Adam Jones and Carlos Gonzalez remain unsigned.

“I think there’s something to be said for experience and leadership on the field and in the clubhouse,” shortstop Brandon Crawford said Friday. “If we can get somebody like that, I think it could only help a team. At this point, we kind of have to think of this as our team going into the season.”

Though Madison Bumgarner did not attend FanFest, he’s another veteran who keeps close tabs on the health of the sport. The left-hander regularly checks in with plate umpires during his starts, but he’s said several times he doesn’t want to see their jobs replaced by robots.

He doesn’t want starting pitchers to find themselves out of work, either. During the Winter Meetings, Bumgarner texted manager Bruce Bochy to tell him he wouldn’t take kindly to a reliever serving as an “opener” on one of his start days.

Openers, robot umpires and the potential of a universal designated hitter may be distinctly different topics, but they’re all ones that Bumgarner closely follows. Even if he’s not the next Giants union rep, expect his voice to carry a lot of weight with the player responsible for communicating the growing concerns of their peers.

‘Timeless’ tunes

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 4:47am

Northern California singer-songwriter Rita Hosking brings her soul-stirring brand of country-folk music to The Old Steeple on Feb. 23. An award-winning and prolific songwriter lauded for lyrics with stories and a sense of place, Hosking sings of everything from forest fires and culture clash to dishes, black holes and hope.

A descendant of Cornish miners who sang in the mines, Hosking grew up with deep regard for folk music and the power of the voice.

Hosking’s songs, and sweet yet sinewy vocals, are partnered with longtime collaborator and multi-instrumentalist Sean Feder on dobro, banjo and guitar. Together, they deliver what Acoustic Magazine calls “timeless, unhurried elegance.”

Hosking’s honors include being winner of the 2008 Dave Carter Memorial Songwriting Contest at the Sisters Folk Festival and finalist in the 2009 Telluride Music Festival Troubadour Contest, as well as receiving honors in the International Songwriting Contest and West Coast Songwriters’ Association. Her 2015 release, “Frankie and the No-Go Road,” was awarded five stars from the Telegraph and called “one of Americana’s finest concept albums” by the Observer. Her latest album, “For Real,” was released in 2018.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Tickets are available online at or at Wildberries Marketplace in Arcata, The Works in Eureka, and Mind’s Eye Manufactory and Chapman’s Bookery and More in Ferndale.

The Old Steeple is located at 246 Berding St. in Ferndale. For more information, visit


Senior Calendar and Menu

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 4:21am
Tuesday, Feb. 12

Humboldt Senior Resource Center, Eureka: Library, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Senior Service Office, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Harry’s Bingo, 10-11 a.m. Lunch, 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Pinochle, 12:15-2:15 p.m. Billiards, noon-3 p.m. Bunco, 12:30-1:30 p.m. FABS/SAIL Exercise, 2:10-3:10 p.m.

Arcata Senior Dining Center: Katie’s Krafters, 9-11 a.m. Senior pool hour, HealthSPORT ($5), 10-11 a.m. Bread: setup 9 a.m., open 11 a.m. Bead jewelry class, 12:30-2 p.m.

McKinleyville Senior Center: TOPS, 9 a.m. SAIL, 9:30 a.m. Memoir Writing, 10:30 a.m.-noon. Stretch, 10:40 a.m. Bingo, 12:30 p.m. Exercise, 1:30 p.m.

Fortuna Senior Center: Walking group, 8:30 a.m., Rohner Park. Senior Stitchers, 1:30 p.m. Seated tai chi, 2 p.m. Recorder group, 3 p.m.

Rio Dell/Scotia Senior Center: Cards and bingo, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Fortuna Dining Center: No activities.

Wednesday, Feb. 13

Humboldt Senior Resource Center, Eureka: Library, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Senior Service Office, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Lunch, 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Billiards, noon-3 p.m. SAIL exercise, 1:15-2 p.m. Intermediate line dancing, 1:30-3:30 p.m. FABS/SAIL Exercise, 2:10-3:10 p.m.

Arcata Senior Dining Center: Chi gong, 10-11 a.m. Bread: setup at 9 a.m., distribution at 11 a.m. Tai chi, 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. and 12:30-1:30 p.m.

McKinleyville Senior Center: Tai chi, 8:30 a.m. Computers, 9 a.m.-noon. Needlework, 10 a.m. Walking at Hiller Park, 10:30 a.m. Pinochle, 1-4 p.m.

Fortuna Senior Center: Walking, 8:30 a.m., Rohner Park. PE for Seniors (UMC), 9 a.m. PE for Seniors-Beginners (UMC), 10:30 a.m. Tai chi, 1 p.m. SAIL exercise class, 5 p.m.

Ferndale Senior Services: Fitness and flexibility (SAIL) class, 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Ferndale Community Center.

Senior Leisure Center, Moose Lodge, Cutten: Bingo, 11:15 a.m.-3:30 p.m. (ages 18+)

Rio Dell/Scotia Senior Center: Senior exercise, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Rio Dell Baptist Church (call 407-8707 for more information).

Fortuna Dining Center: Bingo, 5-8 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 14

Humboldt Senior Resource Center, Eureka: Library, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Senior Service Office, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Grocery bingo (bring one grocery item), 10-11 a.m. Lunch, 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Billiards, noon-3 p.m. SAIL exercise, 1:15-2 p.m. FABS/SAIL Exercise, 2:10-3:10 p.m. Valentine’s celebration, 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

Arcata Senior Dining Center: Tai chi ($3), 9-10 a.m. Katie’s Krafters, 9-11 a.m. Senior pool hour at HealthSPORT ($5), 10-11 a.m. Learn to Use Tech, 12:15-1:15 p.m. CalFresh sign-up assistance, 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Valentine party, 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

McKinleyville Senior Center: SAIL, 9:30 a.m. Pinochle lessons, 10:30 a.m. Stretching, 10:40 a.m. Bingo, 12:30 p.m. Mini meal, $3, stuffed pepper, garlic bread and Jell-O salad, 11-11:30 a.m.

Fortuna Senior Center: Walking group, 8:30 a.m., Rohner Park. Cards, 9 a.m. Yoga for seniors (UMC), 9:30 a.m. Mah Jongg, 1 p.m. Seated tai chi, 2 p.m. Bocce ball at Rohner Park, 4 p.m.

Fortuna Dining Center: No activities.

Friday, Feb. 15

Humboldt Senior Resource Center, Eureka: Falun Dafa, 9-10 a.m. Library, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Senior Service Office, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Beginning tai chi, 10-11 a.m. Beginning yoga, 11 a.m.-noon. Lunch, 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Billiards, noon-3 p.m. Bridge, 1-4 p.m. Conscious Living Book Club, 1:30-2:30 p.m.

Arcata Senior Dining Center:  Ping pong, 10-11:30 a.m. Music with the Half Notes, 10:15-11:15 a.m.

McKinleyville Senior Center: Tai chi, 8:30-9:30 a.m. Walking group at Hiller Park, 10:30 a.m. Pinochle, 1-4 p.m.

Fortuna Senior Center: Hiking group, 9 a.m. (call Lynn, 725-7953). Biking group, 9 a.m. (call Chuck, 725-5095). Cards and games, 9:30 a.m. Scrabble Club, 2 p.m.

Fortuna Dining Center: No activities.

Ferndale Senior Services: Fitness and flexibility (SAIL) class, 8:30 and 10:30 a.m., Ferndale Community Center.

Rio Dell/Scotia Senior Center: Senior exercise, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Rio Dell Baptist Church (call 707-407-8707 for more information)

Saturday, Feb. 16

Humboldt Senior Resource Center, Eureka: Nooners, Applebee’s, noon.

Fortuna Senior Center: Volunteer luncheon (MGC), 11 a.m.

Sunday, Feb. 17

Fortuna Senior Center: Qigong, 10:30 a.m. Bingo (MGC), 5 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 18

Humboldt Senior Resource Center, Eureka: Site closed Feb. 18 for President’s Day. Library, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Senior Service Office, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Mah Jongg, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Billiards, noon-3 p.m. SAIL exercise, 1:15-2 p.m. FABS/SAIL Exercise, 2:10-3:10 p.m. Memoir writing, 2:30-4 p.m.

Arcata Senior Dining Center: Site closed Feb. 18 for President’s Day

McKinleyville Senior Center: Tai chi, 8:30-9:30 a.m. Walking group at Hiller Park, 10:30 a.m. Party bridge, 1-4 p.m. Computers (call for availability), noon to 3:30 p.m. Cribbage, 1-4 p.m.

Fortuna Senior Center: Site closed Feb. 18 for President’s Day. Walking group, 8:30 a.m., River Walk. PE for Seniors (UMC), 9 a.m. Tai chi, 9 a.m. PE for Seniors-Beginners (UMC), 10:30 a.m. Line dance, 11 a.m. Ukulele group, 3:30 p.m. SAIL exercise, 5 p.m. (UMC).

Fortuna Dining Center: No activities

Adorni Center, Eureka: F.U.N. Play Center for grandparents and grandchildren (0-5) 9:15 a.m.

Ferndale Senior Services: Fitness and flexibility (SAIL) class, 8:30 and 10:30 a.m., Ferndale Community Center.

Rio Dell/Scotia Senior Center: Senior exercise, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Rio Dell Baptist Church (call 707-407-8707 for more information).

Senior menu

People age 60 and older and their spouses are invited to lunch, sponsored by the Humboldt Senior Resource Center Nutrition Program. Meals are served Tuesday through Friday, in Eureka at the Humboldt Senior Resource Center, 1910 California St., from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.; in Arcata at the Community Center, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.; and in Fortuna from noon to 12:30 p.m. at Mountain View Village, 2130 Smith Lane. For reservations in Eureka, call 707-442-1181; in Arcata, 707-825-2027; in Fortuna, 707-725-6245. The suggested donation is $3.50 per meal; however, all donations are confidential and no one will be denied a meal if unable to donate.

Wednesday: Taco salad with beef, beans, romaine lettuce, tomatoes and cheese, chips and salsa, apricots

Thursday: Chicken Wellington, mashed potatoes with gravy, peaches, Pacific blend veggies, red velvet cake

Friday: Spinach lasagna, green salad, French bread, honeydew melon

Monday: All dining sites closed.

Tuesday: Sloppy Joe, cole slaw, roasted sweet potatoes, pineapple.

The Second Half: Protect mom from scams

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 3:56am

Dear Tracey: I know I’m not the only who worries about this. Maybe you can help me help my mom. She is 87 and a widow. I had to move her into a nice assisted living place, but she doesn’t like it there. I know making friends has been really hard for her and most of her other friends have passed away. I feel bad. She’s so lonely.

But I think that loneliness makes her fall for every scam phone call she gets. One said he could lower my mother’s mortgage — even though my mom doesn’t own a house anymore. Another woman told her she knew Mom had “such a nice time in New Orleans last year” that she was happy to tell her she’d won a timeshare there, if Mom’d only send her $300 as a “good faith” payment that would be refunded. My Mom has never been there to New Orleans, but she was all set to buy in. One call from the so-called IRS told her she was “going to be arrested for back taxes.” My poor Mom was so upset she called me in tears.

I’ve talked until I’m blue in the face trying to get her to understand that these scumbags target seniors in particular. I tell her not to pick up the phone. She gets so defensive and tells me how can she possibly know who’s calling. Is there anything I can do to protect her? — Signed, Worried Daughter.

Dear Reader: Sadly, you are correct. Millions of children of seniors worry about the overwhelming number of phone scams targeting their parents. Regretfully, we all suffer at the hands of these unscrupulous people, but seniors are particularly at risk for taking the bait.

As a rule, members of the older generations were raised to be polite and to expect honesty at the other end of the line. It’s not been their experience to think that someone would contact them with something fraudulent. Sadly, for those who are hungry for human contact, the problem of phone scammers is compounded. When that phone rings, it means someone wants to talk to her and even if it’s a stranger, this feels pretty good by offering a break in the loneliness.

It sounds like talking to her about the risks she is taking isn’t helping her. (What’s worse is the tactic some children try — shaming and blaming their parents into submission. No one wins with this approach.)

Here are a few things you might try:

· From the description of your mother’s phone, it doesn’t seem to display the number of who is calling. Get her a phone that does and then show how to screen calls. Next, make a list of all of the people who call her and have her keep this by her phone. Ask her to only pick up if the number on the phone is on her list.

· Make sure her number is unlisted.

· Remind her of the lesson she taught you when you were a child, “Don’t talk to strangers.” Putting it this way will help your mother get a different perspective on this problem. You might also print articles from the Federal Trade Commission and AARP. Reading about phone scams will less uncomfortable than having you explain them to her.

· If your mother does answer a call, stress how important it is that she does not speak or press any buttons and that she needs to hang up immediately.

· List her number on the Federal Trade Commission National “Do Not Call” registry ( It’s simple and will help cut down on some calls. (But note that charities, fundraising groups and a host of others can still get through … and these will still include some scammers.)

· Finally, if she does get a fraudulent call, ask her to write down the number so you can report it to the  FTC  by calling 1-888-382-1222.

Reminder: Join us tomorrow, Feb. 13, for our OLLI class, “Two Boomers, One Dog, and a Boat.” (Humboldt Bay Aquatics Center from 2 to 4:30 p.m.; $25 fee.) I’ll talk about our annual boating experiences off of British Columbia. (Oh, the stories!) My husband will discuss building the boats we use for these cruises. No boat? No problem. I’ll have resources about how to explore this beautiful part of the world. For reservations, call OLLI at 707-826-5880 or just show up tomorrow!

Tracey Barnes Priestley is a life coach with a master’s degree in community counseling psychology and more than 30 years of experience as a counselor, educator and consultant. She is married and the mother of three adult children, and the author of “Duck Pond Epiphany.” Visit her website,; email her at:; or send your letters to 665 F St., Arcata, CA, 95521. Tracey regrets she cannot answer all letters and emails.


Oroville Dam: Two years after the mass evacuation, here’s where we are

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 3:30am

OROVILLE — Two years ago today, about 188,000 people were ordered to evacuate for fear the damaged Oroville Dam spillway would fail.

While the worst fears never materialized, the incident had impacts still felt in the community. It also spawned new legislation related to dam safety, a modern rebuild of the spillway, and many lawsuits against the state Department of Water Resources.

This is by no means a comprehensive summary, but below are some major updates related to the spillway crisis.

Reconstruction continues

Both the main and emergency spillways are still under reconstruction.

DWR said the main spillway was ready to be used again by its Nov. 1, 2018, deadline. However, some minor work there is still ongoing, including site clean-up and sidewall backfill. Contractors are also working to bring the hillside back to its natural state by grading and hydroseeding. That work will be ongoing “well into spring 2019,” according to DWR.

Work on the emergency spillway continues as well. Currently construction crews are placing a concrete cap on top of a new buttress made of roller-compacted concrete.

Recreation advocacy

The Feather River Recreation Alliance, led by Oroville residents, continues to meet and advocate for those impacted by the dam crisis and aftermath. One major effort the alliance is focused on now is gathering signatures for a petition to present to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, with a request for an “independent, comprehensive assessment of the dam and fair treatment for the downstream communities.” The alliance’s goal is to get 8,000 signatures.

Safety group

The dam safety group led by Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Yuba City, and John Yarbrough of DWR met Jan. 10 for the third time with other community leaders, DWR representatives and the Independent Review Board. The group is analyzing the comprehensive needs assessment for Oroville Dam which is being prepared and is expected to be finished in 2020.

Long-term changes to the dam’s operations and infrastructure, including possibilities like the addition of a second gated spillway, are being considered in the assessment, DWR has said previously.


A trial date of June 1, 2020 has been set for many of the lawsuits against DWR over the Oroville Dam crisis. Plaintiffs include the city of Oroville, Butte County, PG&E and several proposed classes, among others. More information can be found on the Sacramento County Superior Court website. The case number is JCCP 4974.

DWR has filed a petition to add to the coordinated proceeding the Butte County District Attorney’s lawsuit against the department over environmental damages from the dam crisis. This appears to be the only suit pending against DWR over the incident that is not part of the proceeding already. For court documents, search for case number 18CV00415 on the Butte County Superior Court website.


A soft opening of Oroville’s Riverbend Park, which suffered extensive flooding damage during the spillway crisis, is scheduled for mid-February and a grand opening is expected to coincide with the Wildflower Festival in April. The opening has been pushed back several times due to vandalism.

DWR confirmed last week that it still intends to reopen the spillway boat launch ramp and the road across the dam to access it this summer. Both features have been closed to the public since the spillway first split open two years ago. The boat launch facility is the largest in the Lake Oroville State Recreation Area.


A bill signed into law by the president last year, the 2019 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill, requires an independent review of the Oroville Dam facility. Specifically, it requires the licensee of the Oroville Dam to request that the U.S. Society on Dams nominate independent consultants to prepare a risk analysis. The Oroville resident-led Feather River Recovery Alliance said this was not the “comprehensive, independent assessment” that the group sought.

A bill proposed by Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Red Bluff, to create a citizens advisory commission for the dam also was signed into law last year by then-Gov. Jerry Brown. Senate Bill 955 creates a 19-member commission to provide a forum for residents and state officials to discuss reports, maintenance and other ongoing issues related to the dam.

By the numbers

$1.1 billion: Estimated cost to repair the Oroville Dam facility

612: Erosion-resistant concrete slabs installed in phases one and two

270,000: Cubic feet per second of water that can go down spillway at a time