Monday, August 15, 2011

Tokens, Produce and Glorious Facial Hair

Posted By on Mon, Aug 15, 2011 at 10:16 AM

North Coast Journal contributor Josephine Johnson attended the Arcata Farmers' Market Saturday and shot the following video, in which a representative of the North Coast Growers Association explains Blue Tokens and The Bucky Walters pluck, strum and pick to the crowd's delight.

Arcata Farmers Market from Josephine Johnson on Vimeo.

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Teen Beat

Posted By on Sun, Aug 14, 2011 at 6:10 PM

Kaylee Savage-Wright is one half of a teenaged sister-brother team covering San Francisco's Outside Lands fest on behalf of the North Coast Journal -- because we believe the youth are our future. Kaylee submitted the following report:

Friday highlights:

Joy Formidable kicked things off with tons of energy, especially impressive considering they were playing an early afternoon slot. The Wales-based band has catapulted into fame over recent months -- Humboldt radio listeners will recognize their song "Whirring" as a current staple on KSLG 94.1 FM. It's a track about which Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters Tweeted, "I would like to personally thank The Joy Formidable for writing song of
the year 'Whirring.' Dave xxx." By the end of the set, the joy was really was formidable -- singer Ritzy Bryan's guitar strings busted after bearing the brunt of her enthusiasm.

Phish started off fun, but were a little too jammy and long for my taste, and I moved along to the more energetic MGMT. Best moment of their set was when they broke into their hit "Electric Feel" and the whole crowd sang along. Classic wonderful festival moment!

Saturday bright spots:

I entered the festival early to snag a good spot for Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Smart move on my part, as they started Saturday off so good, so funny and with great beats to dance to. OK Go followed up with brightly colored suits and just as much brilliant personality, ramping up the energy level of an already excited crowd.

Arctic Monkeys took it to an even higher level, all badass and greaserish -- the crowd went nuts. So crazy that I was pushed back from the front, where I'd been holding my ground, into the wildness of people shoving and moshing. Total monkey madness.

Things grew even more fabulously out-of-control when The Black Keys took the stage. People screamed! People jumped! People squashed together so hard that I lost all my friends and found myself surrounded by large men, everyone sweaty and unable to move. Or rather, unable to move except as one singular Black-Keys-worshipping organism.

Then, when it seemed as if the performances couldn't possibly get any more brilliant, I somehow fought my way up to the front for Muse. They were AMAZING. The crowd turned into a wave of people. I literally couldn't so much as shift my weight unless other people were, too. Everyone sang along. Energy like we'd stuck our collective fingers into a giant light socket. The band played the crowd, too, keeping us pumped up with faster songs, then bringing it down for a mellow moment. After the encore, all I could think was, that was one of the best performances I've ever seen.

-- Kaylee Savage-Wright

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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Mike Thompson. On a River.

Posted By on Thu, Aug 11, 2011 at 11:34 AM

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Congressman Mike Thompson stood in the front row, facing the docked shiny, blue jet boat, patiently waiting to get his river tour on. As the remaining 30-or-so passengers slowly shuffled aboard, Thompson -- sensing all eyes on him -- decided to take advantage of his clout and circumstance.

"I'm going to sing for all of you," he announced with a smile in a loud congressional voice. "Is there anything you'd like to hear?"

After a moment, someone shouted, "Springsteen!" (Okay, it was me.)

Thompson paused. "Isn't he the one that does, 'Born… on the Klamath River!'" he joked, half-singing the "title."

Good one, Mike.

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But his lighthearted, jovial mood matched the tone of the day. The Yurok Tribe had arranged the jet boat tour of the lower Klamath River -- attended by Yurok officials plus stakeholders from the Upper Basin, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) Principal Deputy Undersecretary for Oceans and Atmosphere Monica Medina, media and Thompson -- to illustrate the area's importance to the tribe. Despite a contentious history on how the Klamath River's resources should be allocated between the stakeholders in the boat, on this mostly-sunshiny day everyone was chipper. You know, cuz we were on a boat. And boats are sweet.

Our journey took us from the jet boat station in Klamath quickly down to the river's mouth before we turned around and headed upriver. Along the way, the boat passed under the gawking tourist-heavy Hwy.  101 bridge where the mother gray whale is still taking up residence -- she's been there since late June.

"We hope there's some NOAA people around that can help enforce the Marine Mammal Protection act," the boat's captain joked over the loud speaker,  invoking light laughter.

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As the boat cut through the water, it was nearly impossible not to be slapped across the face by the overwhelming natural beauty.

Wildlife? Check! Osprey and bald eagles nested in the trees along the shore. Duck families swim-scurried through the water away from the noisy boat. Great blue herons soared low near the water's surface. Some very-out-of-place looking cattle stood on the river's rocky shore.

"Those are feral cows," commented Thompson staffer John Driscoll from the row behind me. Sounded reasonable, so I bought it. I commented to Thompson, in the row in front of me, that the cows were "feral."

"Who told you that?" Thompson asked with a smile. I told him. "John's full of shit," he informed me. It turns out he was. "Those are moo cows. Cross out 'feral' and put 'moo,'" he said before spelling it out for me. "M-O-O."

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On a couple occasions, our jet boat captain told us to hold on while he spun agile 360s in the river to the delight of the distinguished guests. Remarkably -- and regrettably -- we barely got wet.

"Did you feel that little bump?" the captain asked over the loud speaker. We hadn't. "We just crossed over the Humboldt County line." Nice. How many times has he used that one?

We arrived at the point where the Blue Creek tributary flows into the Klamath, a spot so rich in raw, natural dazzle that it had to be used for the day's stump speeches. With the boats temporarily stationed in the shallows, Yurok Tribal Chairman Thomas O'Rourke stepped onto the nose and spoke to the environment-overwhelmed audience about the river's economic and cultural significance.

"This is the doorway to the high country," he said, "the Yurok's most spiritual place. This river is our lifeline."

During our brief Blue Creek stop, Thompson, Medina and Yurok Tribe Policy Analyst Troy Fletcher each took turns affirming the region's importance and beauty. "It's magical," Thompson said, sincerely championing we're-all-in-this-together sentiments. After the quick speeches, we pushed off the rocks and were on our way.

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Cattle rancher and Upper Klamath Water User Association member Becky Hyde made the nearly 250-mile trip from Beatty, Ore., to show her commitment to maintaining healthy working relationships between the fishing communities downstream and the farmers in the Klamath Basin. At present, she feels that both sides have genuine concern for each other's communities, and she has been encouraged by the concern of both Thompson and Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley toward the two groups.

At the same time, last year was a hard one water-wise for agricultural interests in her region. "We're working with an old tool box," Hyde said. "To not deal with the issue is unconscionable."

Our boat docked back in Klamath and everyone disembarked, full from the visual meal they'd just consumed.

"I still want to drive your boat," Thompson said to the boat's captain.

Thompson is optimistic that the Klamath Basin River Agreement will be implemented, but he cited opposition -- namely, from dam removal opponent Congressman Tom McClintock. "I doubt he's even been up here," Thompson said.

On the separate issue of the imminent Monday release of the final California Citizens Redistricting Maps -- which could potentially lead to Mike being drawn out of California's First District -- Thompson wouldn't speculate.

"The maps have to come out," he said.

In the event that he's forced out of representing our district, Thompson said he'd be sad -- "Just thinking about it makes you tear up,"   he said. -- but that he'd still follow the issues that affect us.

"And as my wife pointed out, I can still come here to see friends and the places I love," he said. "I think it's something you call a 'vacation.'"

 

MORE PHOTOS!:

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"We're on a boat!"

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Whale watching!

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Yurok Tribal Chairperson O'Rourke and Congressman Thompson got to sit in front.

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A bald eagle illustrates why telephoto lenses were invented.

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Humboldt County Fifth District Supervisor Ryan Sundberg. On a boat!

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Upper Basin cattle rancher Becky Hyde and Thompson staffer John Driscoll exchange info.

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Right to left: O'Rourke, Thompson and -- deep breath! -- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association Principal Deputy Undersecretary for Oceans and Atmosphere Monica Medina! Whew!

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"We were on a boat!"

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Yes, mama's still there.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

McK'ville Gets Their Goats

Posted By on Wed, Aug 10, 2011 at 2:20 PM

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Oh, yes, the town "where horses have the right of way" has a fond and willing eye for the goats, as well. That is, there do not yet appear to be any of those  n-o-o-o-o-o-ot-t-t-t-t---h-e-r-e!!! bleatings issuing from the grassy flats of McKinleyville's Dow's Prairie, where local-cheese-company-gone-global Cypress Grove Chevre has announced it will put its goat dairy.

CGC, recall, wanted to develop the dairy on 23 acres near its operations down in Arcata -- up to 1,400 goats, eventually, with indoor-outdoor freedom, a modern waste-composting regime, and about a dozen jobs. Neighbors squawked "industrial goat farm," noise, stench and joy-destruction. CGC bowed, and stepped back.

While that may have prompted Arcata to enter a period of deep introspection, in the end it was its can-do country cousin who stepped in.

Now the business is awaiting escrow to close on 38 acres in Dow's Prairie. From CGC's news release:

The goat herd will begin with 200 carefully selected does and is expected to grow to approximately 1,200 to 1,400 over the next five years. The new dairy will create 12 living-wage, fully-benefited jobs between the McKinleyville and Arcata facilities and will help ensure Cypress Grove's future in Humboldt County.

Read the rest of the release:

Cypress Grove Chèvre Press Release

McKINLEYVILLE - Humboldt County-based Cypress Grove Chevre announced today that it has agreed on terms and entered into escrow on a 38-acre site on Dow's Prairie Road in nearby McKinleyville. The land is adjacent to other agricultural properties and will be home to Cypress Grove's new goat dairy, which will supply much needed milk for the growing demand of the company's line of award-winning goat cheese.

"I'm pleased that we found such a suitable piece of land nearby the creamery," said Mary Keehn, founder of Cypress Grove Chevre. "The fact that it is so close to our first site makes it a little nostalgic for me," added Keehn, referencing her original dairy, creamery and home, which was also located on Dow's Prairie Road when she started Cypress Grove Chevre in 1983.

Substantial funding provided by Cypress Grove owner Emmi of Switzerland will enable Cypress Grove to build a modern, humane dairy by following proven best management practices. Herds will be maintained within well-ventilated and naturally lit indoor spaces while also enjoying outdoor access. Included in the plan will be efficient manure management that meets all government regulations and allows for productive re-use as fertilizer and soil amendment.

The goat herd will begin with 200 carefully selected does and is expected to grow to approximately 1,200 to 1,400 over the next five years. The new dairy will create 12 living-wage, fully-benefited jobs between the McKinleyville and Arcata facilities and will help ensure Cypress Grove's future in Humboldt County.

"We are thankful for the great number of property referrals we received from citizens," commented Pamela Dressler, general manager of Cypress Grove Chevre. "It's gratifying to know that we have a lot of friends and supporters out there." Dressler went on to thank the Arcata City Council, Humboldt County Supervisor Mark Lovelace and the community development directors of the City of Arcata and Humboldt County; Larry Oetkter and Kirk Girard respectively. "Our final decision is pending positive results from further inspections of the parcel, but timely and informative support from local government was a great help to us in refining this property search."

About Cypress Grove Chevre 

Cypress Grove Chevre is the leading producer of fine American goat cheese, including the top-selling American artisanal classic, Humboldt Fog. Founded in 1983 by Mary Keehn, Cypress Grove continues a tradition of innovation by introducing original American cheeses to the marketplace, such as Truffle Tremor and new Herbs de Humboldt. Based in Humboldt County, CA, where the Redwoods meet the Pacific, Cypress Grove's award-winning family of products can be found at fine retail outlets and restaurants across the country. Cypress Grove's mission is to provide its customers with an innovative and unique selection of cheeses while taking care of its employees, community, dairies and the environment.

 

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Depends on How You Define 'Scam'

Posted By on Tue, Aug 9, 2011 at 3:16 PM

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The Journal was recently alerted to a website with the domain name "betterbusiness.net," which claims to offer a "215 Friendly Rentals List" for $20. Touting itself as "Humboldt's #1 rental source," the site says, "We are Local Advocates who know how hard it is to find a home in Humboldt, especially if you are a Medical [marijuana] 215 Patient."

We'd heard (from Tom Sebourn's blog and elsewhere) that the site was a scam, that its operator had no direct contact with any landlords or property managers, most of whom had no idea that their properties were on the list, and furthermore that the list itself didn't always have actual addresses of available rental properties, 215 friendly or otherwise.

This morning we sent an email to the address listed on the site, inquiring about these matters. And to our surprise a guy who said he's the site's owner called us less than an hour later. Claiming his name is "Jesse Cutt," the man proved surprisingly candid, admitting to each of the allegations listed above, and more.

What follows are highlights from a truly remarkable interview, one that ranged in tone from paranoid to defiant, self-delusional to angry, and that touched on such topics as "bitches," the mafia and Humboldt County's misplaced king.

Jesse Cutt: I've got a single competitor, or at least a person who thinks I'm the sole competitor. We're the only people posting rental listings on Craigslist. This girl [Rental Helpers owner Misty Morgan] thinks she can eliminate competition. She's decided she thinks I need a license to do this. [She's correct. He needs a Prepaid Rental Listing Service (PRLS) license from the state.]

Here's the thing: If there was anybody else competing against her, I wouldn't have even bothered. [But] no one else was in business. I decided I wanted a piece of it. ...

I don't talk to anybody. I don't have any ongoing relationship with any landlords or management companies or anything. I don't need it. I'm just getting all this attention because of how good my site looks. People out here in California, they go by looks. And that's why my site works so well.

North Coast Journal: How do you acquire the listings?

JC: I summarize listings that can be seen from a public place. That's the complete answer.

NCJ: What public place?

JC: Trade secret.

NCJ: How can you claim that the properties you list are "215 friendly" when you haven't spoken to any of them?

JC: Very simple: They are licensed agents or managers. They're corporate managing companies, sworn to not discriminate. ... The allegation is that I'm touting my product as grow-friendly when it's really not. The reality is [that] for every hundred 215 [patients] who buy my list, [only] one in ten will be looking to grow. The other 90, 95 percent are just looking for a place to call home. ...

Here are Cutt's thoughts on marketing:

JC: The majority of my customers are women. I was thinking of putting a picture of Charlie's Angels fucking shooting a guy. That would get women off like crazy. I'll make the site look like it was put together for bitches, by bitches if that's what gets 'em to order.

On the woman who complained about him to the Better Business Bureau:

JC: She wanted to grow weed [at the property she rented]. She thought that was the whole idea [of the list]. It was basically extortion. She wanted her money back plus five dollars. In the end I found out she didn't even buy the list! ... 

They can make 80 complaints to the Better Business Bureau against me. It won't affect me in any way because Misty Morgan already has 800 people marauding around thinking I'm a scam. ... [People] think I'm the Better Business Bureau because of my domain name.

NCJ: Is that intentional?

JC: I don't know. I did that a long, long, long time ago.

Cutt said he's from the East Coast and previously made money by registering Internet domain names for seven dollars apiece, then selling them for up to a thousand dollars. That is, until he registered the wrong name:

JC: What I did, I registered a name of a politician. There was a scandal -- a politician embroiled in a scandal. So I added their personal name to my list.

NCJ: Who was it?

JC: That's all history. That's all mafia, so let's not even go there.

NCJ: What does that mean, "That's all mafia?"

JC: Dude, don't even go there. Where I'm from, you don't want to go there, I don't want to go there. Let the people on the East Coast rip each other off, kill each other and investigate each other. ...

You can go ahead and write an article. [Imitating the voice of a shocked reader] 'Wow, the guy doesn't have a personal relationship with the landlords who own the properties.' Who fuckin' cares? I don't care. You understand what I'm sayin'? If you bought my list and you don't like it? I don't give a fuckin shit, dude. Nobody gives a fuckin' shit whether you like it or not. Everybody else is trying to fuckin' survive. ... 

NCJ: Wait a minute. You know I'm a reporter, and you're telling me that if somebody buys your product and they don't like it, you don't give a shit?

JC: [Pause] Uh. I don't know. I never stopped to think about it. I have got a lot of other things to do. Like count my earnings. It's business, dude. 

Cutt said he's sold the list to hundreds of people since he began selling it sometime around March. Then he launched into the following dissertation on the principles of business:

JC: People around here are pretty fucking interesting, dude. Money is king, ok? And people around here just haven't found that out yet cuz they're in the country. But they're gonna find out. See how fast rents are going up? The city is coming. Competitors are coming and money is king. ... I'm sitting behind the computer making money. ... That's how the business world works. You should write a story about business since nobody out here understands it.

NCJ: How do you expect to make money? Isn't word going to get around?

JC: That's not how business works. Money is king here. You understand what I'm sayin'? It's all about money. See, Humboldt is different. Money's not king necessarily always around here. That's very peculiar to me. It is.

NCJ: What is king?

JC: I don't know. I don't know. But it's not money as often as it should be. I have a real issue here. If I go into a store and I want something, I'm there to patronize it, and I've got money. But you walk into a store around here and people treat you like you're on their turf or in their house. See, everything around here is all about personal. People don't separate personal and professional. Or business from pleasure. Or men from boys. There are no labels or terms. ... 

You got all these yin-yang Californians around here, you know: 'I can get someone to host [a website] for free. Someone down in the Bay Area,' or some shit. And they seem like a business, but then they cop an attitude a week later because they don't like what you said to their tech support guy, and they don't give a shit what kind of money you're bringing in. You understand? That's the problem with fuckin' California. ...

The funny thing is, by the time your newspaper gets printed, all I gotta do is flip the switch and all of a sudden 'Better Business' is gone and it's a whole new ballgame. You see what I mean? These stories don't even apply to a web page. My web page has changed and so has my advertising model and so have my claims. ... I can change the policy every month. There is no news story you can write because every day it changes. It doesn't stay still like a store. If you come back to Target, you know what the front of the store looks like, you know when they're gonna open and you know what you can get inside. So Target is something.

NCJ: So aren't you taking advantage of people? Are you running away from angry customers?

JC: No, absolutely not. Nor have I changed my domain name. Since I started this website it's all remained the same.

NCJ: You know, I just Googled your name, and it doesn't look like a real name. Is "Jesse Cutt" your real name?

JC: Yes.

NCJ: But you said you've been on the front page of newspapers. I can't find anything like that.

JC: Oh, well I didn't give them my real name back then. In mob land? Hell no. But in today's day and age you can't hide shit. So there you go.

NCJ: My main question is, how can you advertise a 215 friendly rental list when you have no information about whether or not these properties are friendly to marijuana patients?

JC: Actually they are. I guarantee it. Because if you call me or email me and you tell me that you bought my list and that you went to one of these managers and they were not friendly to you because you are a 215 [patient], I will go to bat for you. I'll call them. I'll complain about them. And everything else. ... I didn't have to talk to [owners and managers] directly because I found out that they all promised the government. They promised this county and the state when they got licensed in business and in real estate. They made these promises already. They will confirm it. It's just a fact. ... You can't discriminate.

Toward the end of the conversation we asked for his phone number.

JC: You can just email me.

NCJ: You'd prefer not to give me your phone number?

JC: I don't have one.

NCJ: Then how did you call me?

JC: With this phone, but it's not mine.

NCJ: OK.

JC: Why would I give you my -- what's your phone number? You understand what I'm saying?

NCJ: You called me on my phone number.

JC: My phone number's right on my -- oh, it's not on my website. It's on the actual list. [Cheerfully:] If you don't buy the list you can't see the number. For $20 you'd have the number right on your desktop. You understand what I mean?

Yup, pretty sure we do.

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Internet Outage Revenge

Posted By on Tue, Aug 9, 2011 at 11:28 AM

If you lost Internet, land line or cell service during the big silence on Friday, your carrier might -- just might -- give you a little refund.

Only you have to ask. Which means you have to pick and poke through one of those annoying phone trees, possibly for less than the cost of a latte. Might someone just be counting on that?

Naw, that's not it, at least not according to Suddenlink.

It's not an automatic refund because, after all, some people might not have been home or wanted to use their phones or tried to get on the Net while service was out. So they've just gotta call Suddenlink to explain that they actually tried to use what they pay for.

At least that's how Wendy Purnell, Suddenlink's director of operations, explained it in an email. She says customers can call 1-877-443-3127. Or if they don't want to mess with the phone, they can always stop by the office at 911 W. Wabash in Eureka.

AT&T says pretty much the same, except that if you actually called to report that your phone wasn't working (huh?), that would generate a trouble ticket, which in turn would generate an automatic refund. Otherwise, call 1-800-288-2020.

For something like the fire that knocked out so much connectivity on Friday and into Saturday, AT&T doesn't have any obligation under its tariffs to provide a refund or credit, said spokesman John Britton. It does so anyway, as a courtesy, he said.

Be sure to tell the phone tree thank you.

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Friday, August 5, 2011

How to Own an Email Scammer

Posted By on Fri, Aug 5, 2011 at 1:16 PM

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An email scam artist recently made a serious mistake: He mistook North Coast Journal cartoonist Joel Mielke for a fool. The scamming scumbag had somehow managed to hack into the email account of a man named Thom, who happens to have Mielke among his contacts. Pretending to be Thom, the scammer sent the following message:

Hello,

How's everything on your end? This has had to come in a hurry and it has left us in a devastating state. We traveled to London,England for a Voluntary Training Program (VTP), and unfortunately for us all our money and cellphone was stolen at the hotel where we were staying by four armed robbers. The Embassy only cleared us of my traveling documents since we came in on unofficial purposes. The hotel telephone lines were disconnected during the robbery incident,so I have access to only emails.

Our return flight back home is scheduled to leave in few hours from now but we've got to settle out bills before we're allowed to leave....Now we freaked out....Please we need your help..

Hope to read from you soon.

Thanks and Regards

Thom [last name redacted]

Immediately recognizing the message as an advance fee fraud, aka a 419 scam, Mielke rubbed his hands together in a conspiratorial manner, arched an eyebrow of justice (in my imagination, at least), and said via Facebook, "Let's see if I can make these pricks jump through some hoops!" Behold the masterful string-along:

How can we help!?
Joel

Glad you replied back, we have nothing left on me right now and i am lucky to have my life and passport save it would have been worse if they had made away with my passport.

Well all i need now is just 1200USD, you can have it wired to my name via Western Union i'll have to show my passport as ID to pick it up here and i promise to pay you back as soon as i get back home. Here's my info below.


Receiver's Name -Thom [redacted]
Amount- $1200
Location - 272, Coriander Avenue, Docklands, E14 2AA , London United Kingdom

Email me the transfer info as a soon as you get the money done,(transfer details and MTCN #)

I await your reply soon.
Thom

Praise the Lord Jesus you're okay! How are Bugs and Murphy handling the stress? Does Trishy have her meds?I'll have to wait for Barb to get back at noon (our time), since all of our banking is done on her computer.
Joel

Thanks for the Response,

We are all fine ....Keep me posted with the Transfer info as a soon as you get the money done,(MTCN #  and other transfer details.)

I await your reply soon
Thom

As you know, my old college pal Agnew lives in the suburbs of London. Surely he could give you some cash and I'll wire him a refund when Barb gets back.He lives over near Oxford (not far from London). I'll send his address after I call him. Hang tight, buddy!
Joel

We have been advised for our safety not to go far from here....... Am so sorry. I just Figured out you can have the Money Wired online using your credit card at www.westernunion.com

Please keep me Posted.
Thom

I understand. I'll have Agnew meet you in London.
Joel

The Police told us not to see anybody for our safety. Please we have Limited Time Here. Please, Help me wire the Money Online...
Thom

You, of all people, should stay away from the police! I trust that you didn't tell them anything, and what are you doing out of the country at a time like this?Don't worry, Agnew is a barrister and he has assured me that his transaction with you will fall under client-attorney privilege.Whatever you do, DON'T TALK TO THE POLICE!
Joel

omg......you Kidding me>??? as soon will you get the money sent?

Barb called--she's on her way. She said she'll wire you as soon as she gets here.
Joel

Ok. Please Keep me Posted

She's back. She says that Western Union is a ripoff. She wants to use Paypal.
Joel

there is no way i can withdraw paypal here. All i can use is western union...Am tired of your cunning, Let me know if you are willing to help or not...
THom

Cunning? What's gotten into you, man? You know how much Barb hates you and your whole family. If you weren't a deacon in the church, she wouldn't help at all.I'll find another wire service. She claims that Western Union is Mormon-owned.
Joel

Ok.
Let me know as soon as you get the money wired.
Thom

Transfer done!
Joel

Please get back to me with the MTCN confirmation number. we have missed our return flight.

While parallel parking on Saturday morning, Barb was rear-ended by an idiot of a soccer-mom in a preposterously ginormous SUV. Sound familiar? No shit, your ex-wife Trina! Now Barb's got to wear a neck brace indefinitely while we're milking the insurance, but don't worry, it won't cost you dime one.Anyway, at the hospital I wasn't going to mention anything, but you know Barb, she told Trina the whole story. Trina was apoplectic to hear that you are traveling, I thought her IV was going to pop out!I tried to cover for you, explaining that this was a business trip and that you were a crime victim, but don't be surprised when her divorce attorney calls (hey, totally not our fault!).Anyway, you should answer your cell phone. I've transferred the money, just call and I'll give you the MTCN.
Joel

ok thanks,
Please get back to me with the MTCN number.

Dude, HELLO, the MTCN # is on your cell phone.
Joel

It's been two days since "Thom" sent his last message. No doubt he's moved on in search of easier marks. But the above exchange stretched over four-plus days in an expertly executed example of "scambaiting." If you're unfamiliar with the term, here's how the folks at 419eater.com describe it:

So what is scambaiting? Well, put simply, you enter into a dialogue with scammers, simply to waste their time and resources. Whilst you are doing this, you will be helping to keep the scammers away from real potential victims and screwing around with the minds of deserving thieves.

Bravo, Mielke.

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

It's a Walmart...Or Is It? [Updated]

Posted By on Thu, Aug 4, 2011 at 10:12 AM

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Update, 1 p.m.: Common mistake, as Mark notes below: Not Eureka, Yreka. Despite doing two other jobs in the Humboldt County seat, the Millcon Group still got Eureka mixed up with our country cousin over in Siskiyou County. So, for now, the mystery continues.

Original post:

Resourceful blog commenter "James" has tracked down the evidence. The above image comes from a list of current projects for a Texas-based air conditioning/insulation company called the Millcon Group, which has been subcontracted by the general contractor, R&O Construction of Ogden, Utah. (The Millcon site also lists a completed project for St. Joseph Hospital and an awarded contract for the new Eureka Safeway on Harris St.)

Expect more info in next week's Journal.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

It's Not Best Buy! [Corrected]

Posted By on Tue, Aug 2, 2011 at 2:46 PM

[Corrected at 3:12 p.m., Friday, Aug. 5. Note: An earlier version of this post, which was also printed in last week's paper, overstated the degree of knowledge that Eureka City Manager David Tyson had regarding the identity of the new tenant at the Bayshore Mall.]

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If you were hoping for a Best Buy in the old Gottschalks space at the Bayshore Mall -- fuhgeddaboudit!

It's a 73,000-square-foot apparel/grocery/pharmacy big box that looks pretty much like a Walmart, and it's sailing through permitting at Eureka City Hall.

The new $4.6-million-dollar retail store construction project is going through a routine plan check in the Building Department. It already has been approved by the city's Fire, Engineering and Community Development departments.

"The only thing left, I think, is design review for the sign," said City Manager David Tyson Monday by phone. (On the building plans the sign has gigantic big block letters that read, "TENANT.")

A review of the hefty, rolled building permit at City Hall reveals plans for 59,000 square feet of shelves (for apparel and food items), an 8,000-square-foot stockroom, 800 square feet of pharmacy, and a plan for freezer and cooling units in the grocery section. Oh, and racks where dog food will be offered.

Eureka businessman Rob Arkley, who also has substantial commercial real estate holdings, went on KINS radio last week and said the mystery tenant is indeed Walmart. But some people who may be able to confirm the identity of the tenant can't talk.

Tyson said he "didn't know who, officially, the occupant of the building would be. We don't have any plans that have a name on it. We've not been told." And everyone at the Carrington Co., a Eureka-based firm that owns 2 million square feet of commercial space in 23 states including the old Gottschalks, are under a confidentiality agreement not to disclose the tenant's name, according to Pattison Christensen, Carrington's asset manager.

Why is the project so expensive if it once held a Gottschalks? Christensen confirmed that the space will be substantially demolished, including the concrete foundation, and rebuilt to install new plumbing and electrical.

Carrington bought the building and the seven acres it sits on from the court during Gottschalks' bankruptcy several years ago. At the time of the purchase the county had the property valued at $8 million.

"We bought it on speculation. We thought it was financially advantageous," he said. "We didn't have a specific tenant in mind. We had other tenants in mind but none that gave us the sort of return ... as this particular client."

Walmart is moving toward smaller-footprint stores to battle its two-year decline in sales, according to press reports. Rather that the 200,000-plus square foot superstores, the company has been opening smaller stores such as the one in Westside Village near Atlanta, which is less than 80,000 square feet. Walmart is also experimenting with "Walmart Express" stores that are 10,000 to 15,000 square feet.

"We've already got Target and Costco," Christensen said. "As a fourth generation Humboldt County resident, I wouldn't bring in any tenant I thought would terrify the marketplace and neither would Carrington." (Francis Carrington is the owner of Carrington Co.)

"The [Bayshore] Mall came in 20 years ago. It did decimate the downtown for a while, but look at it now. It's vibrant. ... What sort of development should we want for Humboldt County? Infill for retail and housing."

Christensen said the new retailer will create new jobs and increase the tax base because there is plenty of evidence residents are shopping out-of-county at this particular retailer now.

Oooh ... and who else might that be with clothes, groceries and a pharmacy?

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List of Items Confiscated at County Courthouse

Posted By on Tue, Aug 2, 2011 at 1:38 PM

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Here's a partial list of items confiscated and/or rejected by Humboldt County Courthouse security over the past year  six months:

  • Three guns

  • 2,024 knives

  • 294 pairs of scissors

  • 202 razor blades

  • 824 "pointed devices"*

  • 31 "sharp objects"*

  • 94 knitting needles

  • 54 screwdrivers

  • 53 corkscrews

  • 96 metal forks

  • 52 bullets

  • 21 toy/replica guns

  • 127 chains (12 inches or longer)

  • 90 handcuff keys (zero handcuffs)

*When you eliminate all the other "pointed devices" and "sharp objects" on this list, it makes you wonder what's left. Pencils? Quills? Pitchforks?

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