Thursday, February 16, 2012

Driver in this morning's Safeway truck wreck identified

Posted By on Thu, Feb 16, 2012 at 3:22 PM

California Highway Patrol issued the following press release:

On Thursday, February 16, 2012, at approximately 0525 hours, fifty-one year old Gary Robles, of Modesto CA, was driving a 2010 International Big Rig, pulling a 2008 Utility trailer, at approximately 55 mph.  Robles was traveling northbound in the northbound #2 lane, just north of Tomkins Hill Road.  Robles allowed his vehicle to drift out of his lane and onto the east shoulder where it struck the parked 1989 Honda Civic.  The Honda was unoccupied at the time of the collision.  The impact caused Robles to lose control of the International as it continued to travel northeast striking the dirt embankment and overturning onto its roof, partially blocking the northbound #2 lane.  Robles was not injured.  Both vehicles received major damage and had to be towed from the collision scene.  Northbound traffic was restricted to one lane, the northbound #1 lane, for several hours while cleanup was being conducted.
This traffic collision is still under investigation.  DUI is not suspected to be a factor in this collision.
Officer Paul Dahlen
Public Information and Recruitment Officer
Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician

Earlier: One lane of Hwy 101 closed near CR

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office sent us photos of a bunch of bags of weed

Posted By on Wed, Feb 15, 2012 at 2:35 PM


... that they located during a probation search conducted in Arcata this morning.

Press release below:

      On 02-15-2012, approximately 11:00 a.m. the Humboldt County Sheriffs Office Community Response Unit conducted a probation search in the 200 Block of Alder Grove Road, Arcata.  When deputies arrived at the residence they met with probationer Colin Baldridge, 31 years, along with Paul Cohen, 56 years and Jimi Suma 37 years. All three of the men lived in the residence.
      Deputies searched the residence and located 171 growing marijuana plants, 200 pounds of processed marijuana bud worth an estimated $400,000.00, along with half a gram of cocaine, 1.5 grams of methamphetamine and 451 grams of Hash estimated to be worth $3000.00. Deputies also located packaging materials, scales, pay and owe sheets and over $3,000.00 cash which is consistent with sales of marijuana and illegal drugs.
      While conducting their investigation deputies learned Baldridge had another residence located in the 2400 block of Eye Street, Arcata. Deputies responded to that residence and located another 20 pounds of processed marijuana bud worth approximately $40,000. They also located three large garbage bags full of marijuana leaves, and two handguns, one which was reported stolen.
      Baldridge was arrested and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional facility for being a felon in possession of a firearm, possession of marijuana for sale, cultivation of marijuana, possession of a switchblade knife, possession of concentrated cannabis, possession of stolen property, maintaining a drug house and possession of a narcotic. Suma was arrested and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility for an outstanding felony warrant for violation of probation issued by Mendocino County Superior Court. Cohen was arrested for possession of methamphetamine.
      Anyone with information for the Sheriffs Office regarding this case or criminal related activity is encouraged to call the Sheriffs Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriffs Office Crime Tip line 707-268-2539. If you live in the City Limits of Eureka the Eureka Police Problem Oriented Policing Unit can be reached at 707-441-4373.


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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

No Love for Eureka

Posted By on Tue, Feb 14, 2012 at 12:02 PM

Happy Valentine's Day, Humboldt... except you Eurekans. You've been deemed un-romantic by the folks at Redbox -- you know, the company that plants those faceless DVD spewing kiosks in high-traffic shopping locations. Yeah, those love experts.

Eureka ranked fifth on Redbox's list of "10 Least Romantic Cities" based on the number of romantic comedies we rent behind three cities in Texas and one in Mississippi. 

People of Eureka: If this outrages you and you want to improve our standing in future rankings, uh, consider rushing out to pick up a copy of the new release What's Your Number?  now in a Redbox near you!

Huh? There is no Redbox in Eureka?

Whatever. Great list, Redbox!


(h/t TAM)

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The Bell Tolls for Mendocino's Medical Pot Ordinance

Posted By on Tue, Feb 14, 2012 at 10:52 AM

Last night on NPR's "All Things Considered," Michael Montgomery reported on the anticipated end of Mendocino County's groundbreaking medical marijuana ordinance. (Listen to the report below.)

Prior to last year's federal crackdown, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors was looking to base its own ordinance on Mendocino's, which had been deemed a success by growers, dispensary owners, local government leaders and law enforcement alike.

But then feds like Melinda Haag, the U.S. Attorney for Northern California, decided they knew better. Haag complained that, "The law [legalizing medical marijuana] has been hijacked by profiteers who are motivated not by compassion but by money."

So they busted operations this one, which was being overseen by the county sheriff's office, and sent marijuana production back underground, where compassion rules and money holds no sway. 

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Monday, February 13, 2012

NCJ gets a Valentune Delivery

Posted By on Mon, Feb 13, 2012 at 4:09 PM

The North Coast Journal offices received a surprise visit this afternoon from some high school songbirds in the ArMack Orchestra and Madrigal Choir. The five students (sorry, we were too stunned and charmed to ask their names) delivered a "Valentune" -- a very pretty rendition of Jack Johnson's "Better Together."



Small groups of these melodious students from Arcata and McKinleyville high schools have been dispatched all over Humboldt County to serenade sweeties in honor of Valentine's Day. Proceeds support travel to festivals in (the very romantic cities of) Paris and New York. There may still be time for you to order a Valentune for your own Valentine. Call 822-5453 to find out. 


(We're a bit obsessive about documenting stuff.)

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Quakin' in Weitchpec

Posted By on Mon, Feb 13, 2012 at 2:11 PM


In Weitchpec, six miles from the epicenter, folks were taking the 5.6 quake in stride -- although there were unofficial reports of "crazy people and dogs howling" long minutes after the earth quit shaking.

At Pearson's Grocery in Weitchpec, Karen Pearson said the quake knocked the pictures askew on the walls and tumbled some stuff off of shelves, but nothing broke. She said the Caltrans crew was in the store, though, and had just traveled through the Hoopa Bluffs -- a narrow, high-above-the-river gouge in the cliffs that Highway 96 runs through.

"Tony's still here," Pearson said. "You want to talk to him?"

Antonio Alvarez, supervisor of Caltrans' Orleans road crew, said on the phone that when he and his crew got to the bluffs they just saw a small bunch of rocks that they easily cleared.

"We continued on and it got worse; there were rocks every where," he said. At Milepost 16.97 they came upon a line of cars stopped, unable to move forward. "Four yards of rocks, across all lanes."

Nobody was hit by falling rocks, and the mess was plowed aside. Now, the crew's rest-of-the-day is laid out for them -- checking every single bridge over every single creek and river, as is required after a quake.

Scott Burger, a Caltrans spokesperson, said his agency has received no reports of road closures elsewhere.

EARLIER: Humboldt Tweets an Earthquake!

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Humboldt Tweets the Earthquake! (UPDATING)

Posted By on Mon, Feb 13, 2012 at 1:15 PM

The USGS is reporting that the earthquake that shook us all up a few minutes ago -- at 1:07 p.m., to be exact -- richtered in at 5.3   5.5 5.6 (updated) and was centered near Weitchpec.

First off, everyone good? Let us know if otherwise.

As of 1:25 p.m. the Eureka Police Department had no reports of damage. But Humboldtians are providing their own reports on Twitter -- a few with some added hidden advertisements! Some highlights:

@healthsport: Earthquake makes for a more exciting workout@ HealthSPORT! Shake up your fitness routine today!

: I lived in Northridge in '94, so I'm somewhat blasé about these lesser quakes.

@VenloChocolates: Our customers did not budge from their Valentine chocolate during our 5.3 earthquake 10 minutes ago. They know what's priority .

: 5.5 earthquake just knocked a bunch of jars off the shelf and 0 breakage, that Per glass is tough stuff.

: Yikes, that was a frisky little earthquake. I'm betting 4.9. Anyone else?

: All ice cream seems to have survived that earthquake.

: I just read like 10 tweets in a row. Alas, I was walking across town in Eureka and didn't feel it at all.

: Earthquake in humboldt county! Ahh I hope the weeds ok..

: What earthquake?

UPDATE: A report from Weitchpec.

UPDATE: CNN thinks Weithpec is between "centered between Crescent City and Eureka and near the coast."

UPDATE: And because we know you were all concerned, Humboldt's most famous earthquake whisperer Chris Durant reports via Facebook that he's alive and well. (NOTE: Durant says "I'm actually wearing the same shirt today as in the video." Coincidence... OR CONSPIRACY?)

A sample of Durant's past earthquake quakin':


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Don't Serve Alcohol to Humboldt's Youngins

Posted By on Mon, Feb 13, 2012 at 9:54 AM


First, it's just, like, a bad thing to do. But also because sometimes those minors are decoys deployed by local law enforcement. The EPD sent out the following press release:

(Eureka) – The Eureka Police Department, in conjunction with the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, cited two clerks/employees for selling alcohol to a minor, and cited one other adult who purchased alcohol for a minor on 2-10-2012. This action was the result of a “minor decoy” and “shoulder tap” operation conducted with grant funding.

      The Minor Decoy Operation involves minors who work under the direct supervision of law enforcement and attempt to purchase alcohol from 29 retail licensees in the City of Eureka, and greater Eureka area.     

      Those who sold to the minor face a maximum of a $250.00 fine, and/or 24 to 32 hours of community service for a first violation. In addition, the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) may take administrative action against the business’s liquor license. That may include a fine, a suspension of the liquor license, or the permanent revocation of the license. 

      The minor decoy WAS ABLE to purchase alcohol from the following businesses:

1). Patriot Gasoline (4175 Broadway)

2). Babettas Restaurant (1587 Myrtle Ave)

The minor decoy WAS UNABLE to purchase alcohol from the following businesses:

1). Performance Fuels (1125 4th Street)

2). Shell Gasoline (1310 5th Street)

3). N&S Liquors (1505 5th Street)

4). Chevron (2806 Broadway)

5). Texaco (3505 Broadway)

6). Broadway Gas-N-Deli (4050 Broadway)

7). Performance Fuels (1007 Broadway)

8). Patriot Gasoline (1723 Broadway)  

9). Stop and Shop Market (39 Wabash)

10). C&V Market (1634 F Street)

11). Handee Market (3500 F Street)

12). Harris and K Market (3103 K Street)

13). Harris Street Market (411 West Harris)

14). Shell Gasoline (1434 Myrtle Ave)

15). Gas-N-Go (1711 4th Street)

16). Courthouse Market (905 4th Street)

17). Fourth Street Shell (2111 4th Street)

18). Plaza 76 / Circle K (2480 6th Street)

19). 14th Street 76 (1411 Broadway)

20). California Market (2100 California)

21). Safeway (2555 Harris Street)

22). Walgreens (2525 Harris Street)

23). United Gas (1679 Myrtle Ave)

24). Three Corners Grocery (5945 Myrtle Ave)

25). Harris Street Shell (111 West Harris)

26). Round Table Pizza (2810 E Street)

27). Winco Foods (636 West Harris)

      Decoys also solicited a number of adults for the purchase of alcoholic beverages outside local licensed establishments.  During that operation, one Eureka resident was arrested after furnishing the decoy with an alcoholic beverage. The resident was subsequently cited and released with a notice to appear.  

      This project is part of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control’s Minor Decoy / Shoulder Tap Grant Project, funded by the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

      The Eureka Police Department would like to commend and thank the 27 licensees whose employees properly checked identification and did not sell to the decoy.  

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Governor Saves SoHum School Buses ... For Now

Posted By on Fri, Feb 10, 2012 at 4:52 PM


Good news on the heels of this week's NCJ cover story: Governor Jerry Brown has signed Senate Bill 81, renewing this year's funding for the Home to School Transportation Program. As Sean J. Kearns's story makes clear, plenty of hurdles loom ahead. But for now, residents of the county's more rural regions are breathing a sigh of relief.

Here's the press release from Assemblyman Wes Chesbro:

Praising the Governor for his swift action and understanding of an issue of critical importance to rural California school children, Assemblymember Wesley Chesbro (D-North Coast) today thanked Jerry Brown for signing SB 81, the bill that restores this year's funding for the Home to School Transportation program. The signing came in time to save districts on the brink of firing their school bus drivers.

"I am thrilled that the Legislature and Governor were able to come together to restore the funding that gets California's students to school," Chesbro said. "Home-to-School Transportation is an essential service in my district. This bill was signed just in time to save the jobs of many school bus drivers and ensure that there is no interruption in getting kids to school."

SB 81 replaces the $248 million cut to the Home-to-School Transportation program made by Governor Brown, with a smaller, more equitable reduction across all school districts in California. SB 81 moved quickly through the Legislature and made it to the Governor's desk in just three days.

As a budget bill, SB 81 will go into effect immediately.

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CR Names Three Finalists for President

Posted By on Fri, Feb 10, 2012 at 4:10 PM

A week ago College of the Redwoods announced that it was just one step away from losing accreditation. Today CR announced the three brave finalists for the president/superintendent position left vacant by Dr. Jeff Marsee. Interim president Uptal Goswami is among the candidates.

Public forums with the candidates will take place Feb. 14, 15 and 16. Here's the press release from CR:

Three candidates have been selected as finalists for president at College of the Redwoods.

Then three finalists are Dr. Utpal K. Goswami, Kathryn G. Lehner and Dr. Patrick Schmitt.

The candidates will be interviewed by the CR Board of Trustees and each will participate in separate public forums on the Eureka Main campus. They will all be held in the Forum Theater, Forum Building 103. They will take place from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. The community is invited to attend.

Kathryn Lehner will be first on Tuesday, Feb. 14.  Utpal Goswami's forum will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 15 and Patrick Schmitt will be on stage on Thursday, Feb. 16.

A 16-person search team - comprised of community members, students, faculty staff, administrators and three representatives from the CR Board of Trustees - selected the three individuals at the conclusion of interviews conducted at the CR Eureka Main Campus the week of March 30- Feb. 3.  The goal is to have a permanent president selected by the time of the CR Board of Trustees March meeting. 

CR has been without a permanent president since March 1, 2011.  On that day, the CR Board of Trustees accepted then-President Jeff Marsee's resignation and appointed  Goswami as the acting president and two weeks later as the interim president. Marsee left CR after two and a half years to become president/superintendent of San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton, Calif. The following are the three CR presidential candidates.

The CR Permanent President Candidates

Dr. Utpal K. Goswami

Dr. Utpal K. Goswami is the current CR interim president/superintendent. He began working at CR on July 1, 2010 as the vice president of instruction.  He has been CR's interim president since March 2011. He simultaneously serves as the vice president of instruction.

Goswami earned a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Delhi, a master's degree in development economics from Boston University, a master's degree in economics from Southern Methodist University located in Dallas, Texas, and a doctorate in economics, also from Southern Methodist University.

Prior to coming to CR, Goswami served for four years as the vice president of instruction and provost at Yavapai College, a community college in Arizona. He was the dean of business, administration and instructional operations at St. Louis Community College in Meramec, Mo. for five years.

Goswami also served several administrative roles over an 11-year period at Schreiner University - a small, private university in Kerrville, Texas - as chair of the department of business administration, division chair/dean of the division of natural and professional sciences, and chair of institutional research.

Goswami was also a professor of economics and business administration, where he was promoted from assistant to tenured professor, as well serving as the director of internships at Schreiner University from 1987-2001. He was an assistant professor of economics from 1981-1985 at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.

Goswami has experience in institutional planning, budget development and management, program development and assessment, grants and fundraising, developing partnerships with the community, technology planning, staff and faculty development, and improving institutional working relationships and employee morale.

Goswami has written that, "As a creation of the community, community colleges must be sensitive and responsive to the needs of the broader community serves. In an environment of rapid structural changes, a community college is about the only educational institution that can respond with new programs and serves to meet the emerging needs."

Kathryn G. Lehner

Kathryn G. Lehner has served as the president/superintendent of Mendocino College, which has its main campus in Ukiah, from 2005 to the present.

Lehner earned a bachelor's degree in accounting at the University of Kansas and a master of business administration (MBA) at the University of New Mexico. She also completed educational theory and methods courses required for a secondary teaching certificate from St. Mary of the Plains College in Kansas.

Lehner served as the vice president of academic affairs at Mendocino College for two years before being appointed president. Prior to coming to Mendocino College, Lehner worked for nine years at Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado Springs, Colo. At Pikes Peak she had these roles: associate vice president for educational services for two years; dean of the division of business education and military programs for five years; assistant dean of the division of business education; and an accounting faculty member for two years.

Lehner has worked as certified public accountant from 1978 to the present and worked in the private sector as a CPA for more than 10 years. 

In her statement of educational philosophy, Lehner wrote: "Although my philosophy of education has changed over the years I have experienced education from various perspectives (student, mother, teacher, administrator), the basic tenet of my beliefs remain the same: I believe that every individual has the right to an opportunity to achieve his/her maximum potential through access to higher education. As educators, we must look beyond the student success statistics reported to state entities and focus on the success of each student." 

Dr. Patrick Schmitt

Dr. Patrick Schmitt has served as the president of Pierce College Puyallup in the state of Washington since 2010.  It is one of a two-college district.

Schmitt earned a bachelor's degree in communication and theater from the University of Illinois-Chicago. He went on to graduate school at the same university studying American 20th Century theatre history. Schmitt earned a doctorate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison specializing in American 20th Century theatre and drama, dramatic theory and criticism. He also did graduate work for two and half years at the University of South Florida with an emphasis on instructional technology.

Prior to serving as president of Pierce College Puyallup, Schmitt was the chief executive officer and dean for four years at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha, a two-year liberal arts transfer campus that is part of the University of Wisconsin Colleges system.

He worked for six years at South Suburban College in South Holland, Ill., moving up from associate dean to dean and finally as the associate vice president of instruction. From 1993 to 1999 he served as a full-time faculty member in theater arts at Pasco-Hernando Community College in Brooksville, Fla. While at Pasco-Hernando, Schmitt served as the president of the academic senate. He also received a "Faculty Chair," a limited grant to study technology. Through this work, he helped establish the dean of technology position at the college.

In his educational philosophy statement, Schmitt wrote: "The foundation of ideas about education is an idea of human nature. I believe that fundamental to human nature is possibility. I think that people are capable of far more than they or others often think they are. People are like locked doors, waiting for the right key to open them to entire new worlds of knowledge and achievement. Education provides that key."

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