Update Friday Dec. 2: The dogs are now out, picked up by a friend of their owner.
Nov. 30: Two black dogs are back in a cage at the county animal shelter today, and the homeless guy who cares for them is in county jail, at a cost of roughly $84 a night.
He's accused of burglary: specifically, of hopping the fence at the shelter to spring his pets from dog jail.
He didn't break anything, says Humboldt County Sheriff's Sgt. Kim Thompson, (name corrected 12/2) who runs the shelter. He didn't let any other animals out. Even the door to the kennel he forced open was undamaged. And, Thompson says, the crowded shelter didn't really want to feed and house his dogs anyway, and was ready to work with him to reunite them.
Still, says Thompson, "I have to draw the line at we break into the sheriff's office and steal our dogs back. My compassion ends there. That's not the way you act in a civilized society."
So instead, a civilized society is spending tax money to keep Chad Macias in jail at least until he's arraigned, to pay the salary of the judge who hears his case, and to pay shelter staffers who are feeding Kemma and Tick, the German shepherd mix and kelpie mix who've been hanging with Macias.
How is this a good thing for Humboldt County taxpayers?
"Mine is not to get into that," says sheriff's spokesman Lt. Steve Knight. "The problem is, he committed a felony. You can't break into a building. We understand it was his dogs, but ... what he did qualifies for a burglary, a commercial burglary."
Knight used to run the shelter, and he sometimes loaned people money out of his own pocket to get their dogs back. Thompson says she waited all day yesterday for a friend of Macias' to show up and take the dogs after his burglary arrest, so he wouldn't have to pay. But the friend never showed. Now, it will cost Macias $180 in impound fees to get Kemma and Tick back, plus $15 per dog per day for boarding fees. And if he doesn't act by Monday, both animals could go up for adoption.
The dogs are both around 2 years old, female and relatively well-cared for, although not spayed, Thompson said. And she knows they've had their shots, because they've been in the shelter before -- the last time Macias tangled with authorities, back in June. It cost him $280 to reclaim his pets that time, because he had to pay for their shots.
Knight describes Macias as a transient who "hangs around the Arcata area quite a bit." Arcata police say their latest encounter with him was last weekend, when they were called to a disturbance and ended up arresting him on suspicion of a probation violation. He was taken into custody and his dogs to the shelter.
Macias was freed soon after, and surveillance cameras at the shelter show what happened next. During the night, Thompson says, Macias managed the scale a tall fence and open the kennel his dogs shared. Then he set each dog on top of the fence, climbed back over and called them down to him.
"Those dogs were warm and dry in this facility," Thompson says. "We had heat on. Had he waited seven more hours, he and his dogs would have been happily reunited and none of this would have happened."
And as for Humboldt County's bottom line, she says, well ... "as a taxpayer, now we've got the dogs and now we've got him."
Could they all get along?
Over 100 people representing Humboldt's various Occupy groups gathered in HSU's Kate Buchanan Room Monday night for what was billed as a countywide General Assembly to explore the local movement's options going forward. Numero uno on the list of topics: should/could/would OccupyHumboldt, Occupy Eureka and Occupy Arcata consolidate their energies in one form or another.
The night began with a YouTube clip produced by OWS projected on the big screen followed by introductions from every … one … in … the … room. … OccupyHumboldt's Travis Turner acted as moderator, and after some brief announcements he directed attendees into smaller breakout groups to discuss the pros, cons and logistics of consolidating the three groups … somehow.
Agreement on what consolidation looked like became the issue. While folks mostly stuck to established Occupy assembly efficiency protocol -- wiggle them fingers, crew! -- reaching consensus on how collective efforts would be directed, as well as whether or not one central location was a good idea, proved to be an impasse.
Turner wants to bring all the local movements together and then divvy up occu-duties under four (or five) subcommittees. Occupy Arcata’s Trish Ti thought they might need more commitees. Occupy Eureka’s Verbena wants that damn fence (the one around the Humboldt County Courthouse lawn) down!
In the end, consolidation’s future remained unclear, but a few things were accomplished. A dialogue was started amongst the factions and another meeting was scheduled for next week.
After 109 years of reporting news from the Eel River Valley, the Humboldt Beacon will cease to exist after Dec. 8, Times-Standard publisher Dave Kuta announced today. And in another sign of bad times for Denver-based parent company MediaNews Group, the T-S itself will cut back to six editions per week, discontinuing its Monday editions.
Below you'll see the announcement:
Times-Standard Publisher Dave Kuta announced today that the Humboldt Beacon will cease publication on Dec. 8 after serving residents of the Eel River Valley for more than 100 years.
Kuta also told staff that the Times-Standard will no longer publish a printed edition on Mondays, beginning Jan. 9. Monday stories will be available on the web.
In a memo to staff, Kuta cited the struggling economy as the reason for the changes.
"None of these decisions were made easily," Kuta said. "The next few weeks will be difficult ones, but I'm confident we will be able to move forward in a stronger position to face the challenges ahead."
The Humboldt Beacon marked 109 years of reporting news throughout the Eel River Valley in March. The Humboldt Beacon was purchased in 2005 by MediaNews Group, which is also the parent-company of the Times-Standard.
In April 2009, the Humboldt Beacon moved out of its downtown Fortuna office and into the main Times-Standard building in Eureka.
"We're making choices now that we wouldn't have five to 10 years ago, just because of the economy," Kuta said. "Newspapers are often the first to feel the effects as the economy goes down."
There will be a full story in tomorrow's newspaper and in Thursday's Humboldt Beacon. Read the full text of Kuta's memo below:
To the staff of the Times-Standard, Humboldt Beacon, Tri-City Weekly and the Redwood Times,
The last few years have been difficult ones for our industry and the economy as a whole. Like every business working to adapt in our struggling marketplace, we've been faced with some difficult decisions.
As of Dec. 8, the Humboldt Beacon, which has served Eel River Valley residents for more than 100 years, will cease publication. It will continue in spirit in a weekly page inside the Times-Standard that will be dedicated to the news and events of these special communities.
Starting in January, the Times-Standard will no longer publish a printed newspaper on Mondays, instead that day's stories will appear on the web edition. The last printed Monday edition will be on Jan. 2.
It's an industry trend that has been adopted by numerous papers across the nation as papers face declining advertising revenue in a down economy coupled with increased production and distribution costs.
None of these decisions were made easily. The next few weeks will be difficult ones, but I'm confident we will be able to move forward in a stronger position to face the challenges ahead.
Over the next days and weeks, I will be available to discuss these changes in upcoming meetings.
Have we mentioned before how badass is the California Center for Rural Policy (CCRP)? No? Well, it is. The research center, located on the campus of Humboldt State University, aims to improve the health and well-being of rural people (like us) through the power of data. The center's previous reports have addressed rural Internet connectivity, access to health care and wasted food, among other topics.
"Funding for child care is the lowest it has been in almost a decade, despite the increased costs associated with providing care and a growing population," the report states.
Authors Melissa Jones, Wendy Rowan and Connie Stewart argue for the financial benefits of employee child care programs, particularly those that provide early child care and education. Here are a few of the report's key points:
The cost of full-time day care for an infant in Humboldt County is 19 percent, compared to 15 percent statewide
Every dollar spent on early child care and education yields two dollars in economic output, according to a report from the U.C. Berkeley Labor Center
Early education helps to counterbalance the negative effects of poverty on social and economic success, which is particularly relevant locally since, in Humboldt County, almost 30 percent of families with children below age 5 live below the poverty line
The average annual salary of child care workers locally is typically half of the annual salary earned by elementary school teachers
Ultimately, the report calls on local employers to "work together to support [the] child care needs of their employees if they do not do so already." And it offers a few suggestions, ranging from monetary assistance to flexible scheduling to partnering with local resource agencies like Changing Tides Family Services.
The CCRP, always thirsty for more data, is planning to compile a report on exactly how child care supports local industries. If you're a parent and would like to help, take this here survey.
As media outlets and the public reflect on last week's disturbing U.C. Davis pepper spray incident, many are comparing it to a dark chapter in Humboldt County's own history -- the 1997 protest inside Rep. Frank Riggs' Eureka office, where officers with the EPD and Humboldt County Sheriff's Office used Q-tips to apply pepper spray directly to the eyeballs of environmental activists.
In today's San Francisco Chronicle, Staff Writer Bob Egelko cites the federal ruling in that case, which says pepper spray should only be used in situations where it would prevent harm to officers or someone else. He also quotes Margaret Crosby, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer involved in the Humboldt case. She says pepper spray is unconstitutional when it's "used as a chemical cattle prod on nonviolent protesters."
Donna Tam of the Times-Standard spoke with Jan Lundberg, the father of one of the 1997 eye-swabbing victims. Lundberg said the Davis incident reminded him of his daughter's ordeal, and he speculates that the U.C. Davis officer who did the spraying must not have been aware of the rules regarding pepper spray.
And Chris Corsey penned an editorial in Sunday's Press-Democrat reflecting on the Eureka incident and calling the use of spray on nonviolent protesters at U.C. Davis "a colossally bad decision."
If you're more of a mind to laugh at the suddenly (in)famous "Pepper Spraying Cop," check out this Tumblr page, which features the lawman Photoshopped into famous photos and works of art. Here's a one for Thanksgiving:
Occupy Eureka has once again had its structures in front the Humboldt County Courthouse removed by local law enforcement.
Late this afternoon, the far left lane of Fifth Street in front of the courthouse was coned off and the sidewalk lined in police tape while the officers from the Eureka Police Department and Humboldt County Sheriff's office loaded shelters into trucks.
As soon as the police tape came down, protesters stepped back in.
"... and it moves us all."
Also, if you'd like some ice cream...
The new policy had placed fees on recreational matsutake gathering permits, which were free in seasons past -- and that hasn't changed. The new policy also banned people under 18 from gathering at all. And that's what's changed: Now, according to Kelley in a news release from SRNF:
"To be responsive to the issue raised, we have made the decision to allow anyone 17 years of age or younger to gather mushrooms for free as long as they are with a parent or legal guardian who has purchased a permit. This will give children the opportunity to continue enjoying this activity with family members."
Other concerns about the new policy will be considered at a regional forest meeting, but it sounds like additional policy changes wouldn't happen until next season.
If you were bumming around Old Town the last couple of days, hopefully you were quiet on the set. 'Cuz we's makin' moovees.
Local filmmaker Maria Matteoli (seen above with cinematographer Andy Rydzewski) and a team of 30-odd cast and crew were occupying various E-town locations shooting scenes for The Wine of Summer.
The film is scheduled to wrap up principal photography today and Maria hopes to hit the festival circuit -- as well as stage a Humboldt premiere -- spring of next year.
HumCo film buffs!: Check out the film's IMDB page and play "Spot the Academy Award-winner."
Cast members Ethan Peck (yes, grandson) and Kelsey Chow.
Shooting through the rarely utilized "Eureka Drizzle Lens."
California State Assemblyman Jared Huffman will announce tomorrow that he's nabbed two major endorsements in his run for U.S. Congress, the Journal has learned. Namely he has acquired the backing of fellow Democratic Assemblyman Wes Chesbro, who represents us here in the First Assembly District, and U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson.
Thompson's 13 years representing the North Coast will end after 2012 thanks to the new congressional district boundaries that were created in the redistricting process earlier this year.
Huffman, like fellow candidates Susan Adams, Normon Solomon and Stacy Lawson, hails from Marin County, which will be conjoined with Humboldt, Mendocino, Trinity and Del Norte counties, along with large parts of Sonoma County, in the new 2nd Congressional District.
Humboldt County's liberal elite appear to be lining up behind Huffman. Yesterday the candidate announced local co-chairs for his campaign. The list includes such familiar names as former Assemblymember Patty Berg, former local Thompson rep Elizabeth Murguia and former County Supervisor Bonnie Neely.
Huffman will make a three-day swing through Humboldt and Mendocino counties starting tomorrow. The trip will include a meet-n-greet (open to the public) at Lost Coast Brewery Friday evening from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m.
"Kissing fish" by Joel Lueders
We always knew there was something peculiar about our Eel River steelhead -- those two "standoffish fish clans," as writer Sid Perkins refers to the Eel's winter run and summer run steelhead in a story this week in Science Magazine's online edition.
They don't mingle, they hang out in different parts of the Eel, they come and go at different times of the year. Yet, uncommonly, they're oddly close kin.
Now scientists have a pretty good theory as to why: Apparently, about 25,000 years ago, the two runs were thrown together by geologic calamity and for the next several hundreds of years the two runs, gack, consorted with each other.
And what was this earthy calamity? No surprise: a humongous collapse-and-slither of hillside that blocked the river. Scientists "estimate that 36 million cubic meters of rock -- enough to fill the Superdome in New Orleans more than 10 times -- broke loose and rumbled down to form a 140-meter-tall natural dam."
A huge lake formed behind the dam, goes the theory, and the steelhead runs were stuck together on the downstream side of the dam. A team of geomorphologists recently pieced together this puzzle by using high-resolution digital topography to study a band of thick, layered-sediment terraces about 140 meters or so above the river in the Eel River Valley. They weren't ocean deposits or river deposits, but lake deposits.
Eventually the dam eroded, the lake disappeared, and the two trout types went their separate ways again -- the whole big saga presenting "an exciting snapshot of evolution in action," says University of Washington, Seattle, geomorpohologist David Montgomery in the article.
The family stories those trout must tell...
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Another protector lost. Rest easy brother.