Talk Humboldt

What exactly do people in Humboldt do all day for work, and why?

Listen to Talk Humboldt with Keith and Tom, where Keith Flamer of College of the Redwoods and Tom Jackson of Cal Poly Humboldt talk to the people that make Humboldt work.

Tom Jackson, Alyssa Ellis, Keith Flamer pose for the camera.

Forensic Genealogist Alyssa Ellis

March 20, 2024
Talk Humboldt: Forensic Genealogist Alyssa Ellis

If an adoptee is curious about their biological parents, or the Humboldt County coroner needs help finding next of kin, professional genealogists like can scour available information to piece together a family's history. "If I can get on someone's Facebook ... I can find your entire family tree," says Alyssa Ellis. 
A person's digital footprint is just one piece of the puzzle. Public records, DNA, and other proprietary databases can help forensic genealogists with cold cases, finding heirs, or simply helping someone find out where they came from. For Ellis, what started as a hobby has led her to track down someone's biological family, working with Tulsa's 1921 Graves Project, and helping with heirship cases. 

Transcript: Talk Humboldt: Forensic Genealogist Alyssa Ellis
Keith Flamer, Meredith Maier, and Tom Jackson pose at Six Rivers Brewery.

Six Rivers Brewery's Meredith Maier

February 02, 2024

Neighborly engagement is part of the plan, says Meredith Maier, co-owner of Six Rivers Brewery. "You know, any local pub is going to be your community hub," and her bar serves many of the functions that a proper town square might. "Last night we did a fundraiser for foster youth ... We've had cooking classes and pairings that we do with other organizations. We host food trucks here. And so just trying to kind of embrace as many things we can do in this community is really important to us."


In this episode of Talk Humboldt, Maier tells Keith Flamer and Tom Jackson about the role of local brewpubs in communities, the laborious process of brewing beer, and how Six Rivers Brewery became California's second woman-owned brewery.


Transcript: Talk Humboldt: Six Rivers Brewery's Meredith Maier
Michael Walker holds an acoustic guitar.

Talk Humboldt - Luthier Michael Walker

December 12, 2023

Michael Walker gently strums a century-old guitar in his workshop in the hills above Arcata. "The word that would come to me would be ‘dry’." Using a vocabulary usually reserved for wine enthusiasts, he's laser-focused on the tone. "Each note speaks for itself. They're perfectly separate from one another. But at the same time, they complement each other and work together."

As a guitar builder and restorationist, Walker is a true believer in the craftmanship from guitar-making's golden era. As such, when a guitar from the late 1920s or early 1930s needs repair, he's the go-to person. Using vintage 'bar frets' on the neck is his specialty. "I'm one of two or the world that does that system." It's complicated and labor-intensive, but his love of these priceless instruments is in full view. "I'm a firm believer that these are the best guitars that were ever made." While some of these instruments come from collections and guitar brokers, he finds satisfaction in keeping musical heirlooms playable.

In this episode, Walker tells Keith Flamer and Tom Jackson how a road trip opened his ears to the universe of guitar-building, what stories these instruments hold, and how he's made a living from such a small niche.

Transcript: Talk Humboldt: Talk Humboldt - Luthier Michael Walker
Jason Ramos speaks into a microphone.

Jason Ramos

September 28, 2023

Energy innovator, Tribal administrator, chiropractor, casino manager, de-facto mayor.... unpacking Jason Ramos' many jobs is no easy feat.

But the Blue Lake Rancheria leader always looking forward. He questions the future of the Tribe's gas station. He's helping to build a community health center. And he's got his eye on offshore wind development as a big opportunity.

"I think people in this community deserve some real opportunity for once," he tells Talk Humboldt. "I would sure like it if my Tribal members had jobs, where our local community members had some of those jobs. It's going to be one of those situations where we're going to have to put our heads together and figure that stuff out - and it's coming fast."


Transcript: Talk Humboldt: Jason Ramos
Amy Bohner, Keith Flamer, and Tom Jackson sit in a warehouse distillery.

Alchemy Distillery

September 22, 2023

Bourbon has rules, says Amy Bohner of Alchemy Distillery in Arcata. "Bourbon has to go in a brand-new barrel every time." And for this award-winning distillery, the barrel has to be carefully scorched before filling it. "And through that char, that's where it gets the color and the vanilla flavor."

Admittedly, Alchemy has chosen a complicated path. They prefer to use local grains, repurpose their spent grain, and write most of their labels by hand. Beneath a 14-foot whiskey still and racks of oak barrels, Bohner sat down with hosts Keith Flamer and Tom Jackson to talk about bourbon rules, the unmatchable perks of wild yeast, and if whiskey can be too old.

Transcript: Talk Humboldt: Alchemy Distillery
Chessy Jones kneels with a horse.

Wild Souls Ranch

September 22, 2023

Horses "can feel your heartbeat from eight feet away," says social worker Chessalynn "Chessy" Jones. Since a horse can weigh over 1,000 lbs, they demand honesty and respect - especially among the kids at Wild Souls Ranch, a nonprofit serving Humboldt county's at-risk youth. "Essentially, you can't fool a horse. So if you're calm, the horse will reflect being calm back to you." Equine-assisted learning approaches personal growth through the lens of ranchhand responsibilities: riding, caring for, and cleaning up after a horse. 

Transcript: Talk Humboldt: Wild Souls Ranch
Natalynne Delapp of the Humboldt County Growers Alliance in the studio.

Humboldt County Growers Alliance

June 26, 2023

Humboldt County's cannabis growers "are the smartest, the most resilient, and possibly the most stubborn individuals remaining," says Natalynne Delapp of the Humboldt County Growers Alliance, a trade group whose stated mission is to preserve, protect and enhance Humboldt's cannabis industry. On this episode of Talk Humboldt, Delapp tells hosts Keith Flamer and Tom Jackson about her environmental background, how many cannabis farms are in operation today, and the landscape she occupies in her role as HCGA's executive director.

Transcript: Talk Humboldt: Humboldt County Growers Alliance