Triplicate Staff

Who says college football bowl games are all about the action on the field?

The sports industry trade publication SportsBusiness Journal produces an annual list of bowl gifts awarded to players, coaches, cheerleaders and other support staff of participating teams. It's both a reward and an enticement for college football players, and a way to rack up extra corporate support for bowl organizers.

Cody Hoffman, Del Norte High graduate and wide receiver for Brigham Young University, has not missed bowl season in his Cougars career (he's a redshirt junior) and has reaped the rewards accordingly. On Dec. 20, BYU matches up with San Diego State in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego. Members of both teams will receive a Best Buy gift card, a Tourneau watch, a gift certificate for Maui Jim sunglasses and a baseball cap (presumably ordained with the bowl logo), according to SportsBusiness Journal.

Of course, Hoffman will do a little better than that if he ends up playing professional football someday.

Bowl organizers also go out of their way to materially thank the working press. This reporter still has his 2010 Rose Bowl commemorative glassware and 2011 BCS National Championship rolling carry-on packed away in storage.

- Robert Husseman

Not a disaster scene

Shoppers taking a trip to WalMart this morning shouldn't be alarmed at the sight of sheriff and police cars and firetrucks.

The store will be hosting its annual "Shop with a Hero" charity event that pairs children with localauthorities to shop for the little ones' families. The event kicks off at 8:30 a.m.

-- Anthony Skeens

To eat or not to eat

Despite the popularity of wild mushroom picking in parts of California like the North Coast, state agencies play it safe by telling folks not to pick and eat wild mushrooms.

On Wednesday, the California Department of Public Health issued a press release warning consumers of the dangers.

"It is very difficult to distinguish which mushrooms are dangerous and which are safe to eat. Consuming wild mushrooms can cause serious illness and even death," said CDPH director Dr. Ron Chapman in the release.

There were 1,602 cases of mushroom poisoning from January 2011 to November 2012, according to the California Poison Control System. The majority (903) involved children under 6 who ate mushrooms growing in yards or neighborhood parks.

In Del Norte County, two classes on identifying and picking wild mushrooms were recently offered with good turnouts for each.

Maybe state officials do not understand the pervasive nature of mushroom picking in northern California's Pacific Northwest climate. Keep on picking, Del Norte, but watch those kids closely.  They'll eat anything.

- Adam Spencer

More about mold

Battling mold is no picnic, especially in Del Norte County.

The moist climate makes it especially susceptible to mold in any building, according to a county environmental health official. Tenants at a brand new subsidized housing facility couldn't move in right away because of mold growth.

In the book "MOLD: The War Within," authors Kurt and Lee Ann Billings highlight steps to prevent mold growth. They're mostly focused on cleanup after a flood, but a few could apply to any damp conditions:

andbull; Bleach is an effective sanitizer but will not remove mold at its root. The mold will look like it's gone, but won't be.

andbull; Check your attic. Undetected roof leaks can cause big structural mold problems later.

andbull; Inspect windows on the outside of the building and check for water seepage through the caulking.

andbull; Remove all mold growth on building materials using mechanical means such as sanding.

For more information on water damage and flood resources, visit

- Jessica Cejnar

Rethinking restitution

A restitution hearing was held earlier this week for the family of murder victim Taylor Powell, who was killed by Jarrod Wyatt case. At the family's request, District Attorney Jon Alexander filed restitution for about $1,300 to cover solely the funeral costs.

Judge William Follett was incredulous about the small amount of the request, and decided to continue the hearing for Alexander to confirm that is all the family was seeking.

-- Anthony Skeens

North Korea connection?

A black van with "North Korea" emblazoned on the back in neon green letters stuck out like a sore thumb in the Del Norte High School parking lot this week.

At least one local reported hearing that the folks in the van were pulling students out of class and soliciting them for food and monetary donations. Here are the facts:

Three interns from the Los Angeles-based organization Liberty in North Korea, or LiNK, showed a video and gave a presentation to Lisa Howard's U.S. History class about refugees trying to escape North Korea. LiNK also gave a presentation to students at Bar-O Boys' School, Howard said.

Howard said she and another teacher met up with LiNK at the National Conference for Social Studies in Seattle. The group shows a historical timeline of North Korea, and focuses on the plight of refugees fleeing North Korea into China. So far, Howard said, LiNK has helped 150 North Korean refugees in China get to other parts of Southeast Asia.

"Their lean is not about the war and the politics and the element that's covered in the media," Howard said. "There's a lot more of humanity. Here's people's lives. This is what will happen to their families if they're found out. This is what happens if China returns them."

For more information about LiNK, visit the group's website at

- Jessica Cejnar