A KIEM-TV, Channel 3 newscaster is due to be arraigned Oct. 12, following a misdemeanor arrest for stealing cigarettes and donuts from a Eureka market, Humboldt County authorities confirmed.
Samuel Lewin has remained off the air since the incident Sept. 13, said Bob Browning, the station's general manager.
Lewin reportedly admitted taking the items from the Country Club Market on Broadway. He told the sheriff's deputy on the scene he was trying to recover from heroin addiction, Sheriff Dennis Lewis confirmed.
The station placed Lewin on a medical leave of absence and he will not return to the airwaves. He may take an administrative job in the news department, Browning said.
Country Club Market owner Dan Noga said he's known Lewin for 10 years and he was not surprised by the incident. Noga's employee Rosemary Martin, who was working at the market at the time of the incident, said the anchorman "wasn't himself" in the last few weeks. She said Lewin asked Martin for leniency and she "felt bad for him."
Martin said she had become suspicious recently that Lewin may have been taking things and not paying for them during his frequent visits sometimes three times a day "but we just couldn't prove it," she said. The market recorded the incident on tape.
Murder suspect convicted
A 42-year-old Fort Bragg man, a prime suspect in two unsolved Humboldt County murders, was convicted of first-degree murder by a Mendocino County jury in connection with the death of a Laytonville woman, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported last week.
John Annibel's sentencing hearing is scheduled for Nov. 8 in Mendocino County Superior Court.
Humboldt County authorities have tried to link Annibel to the murder of Andrea La DeRoute, who turned up missing at age 21 from her Fortuna home and hasn't been seen since her disappearance in 1980.
Four years before, Sherry Lynn Smith, 15, was raped, strangled and found dead on the property where the Annibel family lived near Myers Flat. In both cases, authorities said they couldn't develop sufficient evidence to charge Annibel in connection with the slayings.
Meanwhile, authorities are looking into a new case that appears to be a homicide of a white female. The woman identified as June Lawson, 19, of Redway, was found at Holbrook Grove State Park north of Redway on Redwood Drive at 9 a.m. Sunday, the sheriff's department announced.
Couple charged with murder
The Humboldt County District Attorney's Office is preparing a case against a Louisville, Ky., couple who were charged with murder for the brutal death of a tourist visiting Redwood National Park.
Erica Diane Ryan, 29, and Richard Brandon Hall, 33, are being held at the Humboldt County jail in lieu of $1 million bail each for the murder of David Schauer, 43, a postal worker from Euclid, Ohio.
After a sightseeing trip that evidently started in Seattle, Wash., Schauer's body was found a month ago on an offshoot trail along Holter Ridge at the Lost Man Creek area north of Orick. The cause of death is believed to be blunt trauma to the head, apparently by a blow from a rock.
Humboldt County investigators traced the two murder suspects on a credit-card spending spree across the western states in Schauer's stolen Isuzu Trooper. They were eventually placed under arrest by Arizona Highway Patrol officers in Yavapai County near Prescott.
Detectives believe the two transients did not know Schauer before the encounter.
These types of encounters are not the norm and seemingly random, Redwood National and State Parks Chief Ranger Bob Martin stressed.
"It's just as safe (in the parks) as anywhere," Martin said.
Longs buys a Rite Aid
Longs Drug Stores has bought 38 Rite Aid drugstores in California, including one in Arcata and 14 in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The $186-million purchase, predominantly involving Northern California stores averaging 34,000-square feet each, was approved by the Longs board of directors but is still subject to regulatory approval.
The drug store chain plans to keep open the Rite Aid stores they "cherry-picked," Longs spokeswoman Nancy Cockerham said Tuesday from its Walnut Creek headquarters.
Longs has two other locations in Humboldt County, both in Eureka. The chain, which started with one store in Covelo in 1939, currently operates 381 stores in California, Nevada, Colorado, Hawaii, Washington and Oregon with annual sales averaging over $8.7 million per store.
Rite Aid announced its shift in focus to smaller drugstores. The larger ones picked up in the Thrifty-Payless chain western buyout brought in disappointing sales, the company president reported, and the decision was made to sell those.
Local Rite Aid stores include one in Fortuna, two in Eureka and a new location opened last week in McKinleyville.
Walgreen's, a giant pharmacy retailer, is under construction on Broadway in Eureka.
Red Cross to the rescue
Two American Red Cross workers from Humboldt County have joined more than 200 volunteers from around the state in travelling to North Carolina last weekend to help with Hurricane Floyd relief efforts, Executive Director John Gladding announced.
Volunteers Sasha Pino of Eureka and Ron Metzger of Carlotta will join hundreds of Red Cross workers from other chapters in helping disaster victims rebuild their lives following the major mid-Atlantic storm.
Hurricane Floyd has claimed at least 60 lives as of presstime Tuesday, knocked out electricity, water and telephone service to hundreds of thousands of people, displaced tens of thousands of people, the Associated Press has reported, as well as causing agricultural losses topping $1 billion in damage to North Carolina alone, and submerging towns on the eastern seaboard.
Those wishing to make a donation may do so by calling 800-HELP NOW. Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund are also accepted by the American Red Cross Humboldt County Chapter, P.O. Box 3402; Eureka, CA 95502.
Turning the tide on trash
More than 2,400 volunteers picked up more than 13,000 pounds of trash from Humboldt County area beaches and shorelines Saturday for the 15th annual Coastal Cleanup.
Each year the organizer of the statewide event the California Coastal Commission reports a list of extraordinary items picked up. Humboldt County's 110 miles of coastline proved no exception.
Northcoast Environmental Center coordinator Tim McKay said volunteers found an exercise bike at Clam Beach, as well as a shopping cart and an oiled dead bird that washed up along Redwood Creek near Orick. The volunteers also found more tar patties caused by an oil spill 2-1/2 weeks ago in Humboldt Bay.
The cleanup crews responding to the spill that spanned from the South Jetty to Patrick's Point had just mopped up from the 2,000-gallon spill when two more unrelated spills were reported.
Forty gallons of diesel mix from an unidentified boat near Woodley Island contaminated the bay this past weekend, U.S. Coast Guard officials reported. During the same weekend, a 28-foot fishing boat, Far We Go, also spilled about five gallons of diesel when it sank at a King Salmon dock, Cmdr. Bob Durfey said. Crews responded with containment booms and absorption pads.
The ecological challenge didn't spoil the spirits of the clusters of people who helped with the coastal cleanup, including area school groups, AmeriCorps, Friends of the Dunes and a local Boy Scouts chapter.
Almost 40,000 volunteers picked up about half a million pounds of trash in counties throughout the state. In Alameda County, sex toys were found. A small Great White shark washed ashore in Del Norte County, while a laptop computer was found underwater during a dive cleanup in Monterey County. The techno finds continued, as a videocassette recorder was brought in along with a screen door and witch's hat.
In Orange County, a live boa constrictor snake slithered onto the list, with 780 pounds of dog feces in San Diego County. In San Luis Obispo, a box of obscene chocolates and a tour bus in 15 different parts made their way to the list of unusual items.
Democrat honorees named
The Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee will host the 15th Annual Democrat of the Year dinner Sept. 25 at the Eureka Inn.
Honorees this year are District Attorney Terry Farmer and Central Committee member Claire Courtney. Guest speaker will be state Treasurer Phil Angelides.
Tickets are $50. For information, contact Sandra Corcoran, 839-4171 or Liz Murguia, 442-4143.
Something in the air
Firefighters battling blazes in neighboring Trinity and Shasta counties are hoping for relief in the form of rain and so are air quality inspectors.
The number of acres more than 50,000 as of Tuesday that inland fires have consumed continues to climb. A warning of "elevated levels" of pollutants in the air has been issued by the North Coast Air Quality Management District.
"Pollution is four or five times higher than normal," inspectors estimate.
Children, seniors and those with chronic respiratory illnesses are being warned to leave the Big Bar region or stay indoors especially the Trinity and Klamath river drainages as smoke tends to follow water.
The district is monitoring and receiving elevated readings from the Oregon border south to Garberville and east to Redding, but the worst areas for smoke pollutants are Denny, Hoopa and Big Bar. Areas as far west as Blue Lake have picked up higher than normal readings.
"If you can see and smell smoke, it's bad," district Air Pollution Inspector Leonard Herr said from his Eureka office. Calls to the county Public Health Department from people complaining of air quality have been made from numerous inland residents, he added.
The problem may get worse before it gets better. Windy conditions could fuel the flames before any rains come.
It's been about a month since the Onion and Megram fires began. More than 1,700 firefighters are currently battling the fires on rugged wilderness terrain in dry conditions.
There has been a spate of minor injuries including two bee stings that caused allergic reactions, a fire unit running off the road and recently a grease fire that started at a firefighter camp. Two food service staffers were transported to an area hospital and treated for minor smoke inhalation and later released, the incident command reported.
No major injuries have been reported and no structures burned, incident information officer Jean Bergensen reported, but she declined to estimate a time of containment.
"We need the weather to give us some help," she said.
The following road closures remain in effect: Big Mountain Road (5N04), French Creek Road (5N13), county road 402 to Denny and Grizzly Camp Road (7N53).
More trail work
Hiking, biking and rollerblading enthusiasts received a couple of coastal green lights last week.
The Humboldt County Planning Commission granted permits to extend the popular Hammond Trail north of McKinleyville. If it survives an appeals process, slated to close Oct. 18, the Redwood Community Action Agency plans to continue paving the trail as far north as Strawberry Creek at the south end of Clam Beach, according to RCAA's Sungnome Madrone.
The paved trail starts from the Arcata Bottoms at the Hammond Bridge and continues north to Knox Cove, where it gives way to dirt and shrubs.
Volunteers have been working for a few weekends to clear the way for the proposed paving job. Another volunteer day is slated for Oct. 1 when work crews will clear the brush adjacent to the trail between Vista Point and Clam Beach.
RCAA contracts with the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors and the state Coastal Conservancy to do the work.
Madrone estimates the project will cost $600,000. Three grants totaling $400,000 have been secured. The entire north-to-south, paved coastal path should be completed by 2005, he added.
The Hammond Trail is part of a trails system proposed in the McKinleyville General Plan. The system has not been without controversy, according to Bruce Buel of the McKinleyville Community Services District. Some hillside residents oppose the trail planned east of Central Avenue. The matter will be discussed at a meeting scheduled for 7:30 tonight at Azalea Hall in McKinleyville.
Two jobs for police chief
Blue Lake police Chief Floyd Stokes has completed his first week on the job in Hoopa.
Last week, Stokes, 60, started as chief with the Hoopa Valley Tribal Police on an annual salary of $45,000, he said from the Blue Lake station.
Despite his new full-time commitment in Hoopa, Stokes will also work as the part-time chief in Blue Lake for 60 days. City Manager Duane Rigge will handle the recruitment of his replacement.
Blue Lake currently has four police officers patrolling its streets. Hoopa has 10.
Bright ideas about sex
Susie Bright would like to change the way we think about sex.
"Here's how Americans typically think of sex: It's a sin, it's a crime, it's a sickness," said Bright, who is on the road promoting her new book, "Full Exposure: Opening Up to Your Sexual Creativity and Erotic Expression."
Bright will be at Northtown Books in Arcata Sept. 26 at 3 p.m., to discuss topics including the direct connection between erotic life and creativity.
"They have so many things in common in terms of the kind of risks you're willing to take, what you're attracted to, how you grapple with the truth or denial, your intuition, your originality, your uniqueness. They are identical in terms of artistic interpretation."
Bright said that the state of American culture and the way we deal with sex go hand in hand.
"Turn on your television and tell me where American creativity is. Look at what gets published, at the music that gets produced. What's the message? `Don't be different, please conform, don't think differently, don't go outside the box.' Sexual repression is one of the cornerstones of artistic repression. They are exactly the same thing," she said.
Since the 1860 displacement of the Wiyot Tribe from the Tuluwat Village commonly known as Indian Island in Humboldt Bay the Native people have longed to return.
A fund-raising dinner cruise slated for Oct. 2 aboard the Madaket ship brings the Table Bluff Reservation tribe closer to gaining a financial foot-hold on three parcels the property owners have agreed to sell, according to Zo Devine of the Center for Indian Community Development. The state owns part of the land on the island, which is also home to Eureka Mayor Nancy Flemming.
The event promises an evening of story-telling, refreshments and prizes. Seats are still available for the sunset cruise scheduled for 4:30 to 7 p.m. The cruise sets sail at 5:30 p.m., and reservations are required by Sept. 27.
Tickets for the fundraiser cost $125 per person. Those who are interested in obtaining tickets or making donations may do so by calling 733-5055.
The Wiyot Tribe claims a native territory that spans from Little River to Scotia, east to Blue Lake and Kneeland.