Wednesday, August 29, 2012

More Hazing Penalties

Posted By on Wed, Aug 29, 2012 at 4:11 PM

The other shoe has dropped for women's soccer players at Humboldt State University. Their team is being suspended for three games because of hazing, the university said in a press release.

The full release is here:

A Humboldt State University investigation has found evidence of hazing at a women's soccer team party earlier this month and, as a consequence, President Rollin Richmond has suspended the team for three games.

In addition, the investigation also identified numerous instances of underage drinking.  The University has initiated disciplinary proceedings against a number of the players, who face individual sanctions for violations of both the student and the student-athlete codes of conduct.

The suspension means that the road trip scheduled to begin today has been cancelled. Matches with Dominican University, Cal State East Bay and Cal State Monterey Bay will not be played.

The hazing incident took place at an off-campus team party held Aug. 4. A complaint was made to HSU's Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, which then assisted in a thorough investigation conducted by the Office of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs.

The team's three-game suspension follows a suspension of the men's soccer team for the entire 2012-13 season due to hazing.

University policy allows for broad discretion regarding appropriate sanctions for hazing and most other conduct offenses. In the cases involving the men's and women's soccer teams, the investigations found significant differences, including the severity of offenses and the extent of physical and psychological danger. Specific details cannot be divulged due to privacy laws.

"These investigations into hazing have been a difficult process for the teams and for the rest of the campus community," said President Richmond in a message to students, faculty and staff. "I have heard from many who are surprised and deeply concerned, and I share their sentiments. We cannot allow hazing to occur at HSU."

Hazing, broadly defined, is an activity expected of someone joining a group that humiliates them, degrades them, or risks emotional or physical harm. It is hazing regardless of whether the person is a willing participant.

HSU officials stress that they take issues of hazing very seriously, and believe it is important that all students understand it will not be tolerated. Hazing is illegal, and violates HSU's student code of conduct as well as its student-athlete code of conduct.

President Richmond has directed campus offices to create new programs and expand existing efforts related to hazing. These include random alcohol and drug testing of student-athletes, ensuring that NCAA best practices related to hazing are closely followed, new annual reporting and procedures within Intercollegiate Athletics, a strict requirement that all hazing and other student code violations be investigated by Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, and a revision of the Life Skills class taken by student-athletes.

Paul Mann, News & Information, 707/826-5105



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Monday, August 27, 2012

LaRue Out At Redwood Curtain

Posted By on Mon, Aug 27, 2012 at 12:44 PM

In the aftermath of his alcohol-fueled confrontation and arrest on Aug. 18, Eli LaRue has relinquished his half-ownership of Redwood Curtain Brewing Co., the business he co-founded with Drake Mollberg in 2010.

In a phone interview this morning, Mollberg said LaRue's behavior is unacceptable.

"Eli has a drinking problem. He needs to focus on himself and his family and really work on becoming a better person." The two men met as Oregon State University students in the 1990s, according to the HSU Lumberjack

Mollberg said LaRue's behavior on Aug. 18 does not reflect the values of the company or its 12 employees. "We want to be a part of this community. We want to grow this community. And we want to offer our deepest apologies to the women who were affected by this."

Mollberg said he is writing a full apology and submitting an advertisement addressing the issue, both of which will appear in the print edition of the Journal. LaRue confirmed via email that he relinquished his share of the company to Mollberg, who will now be the sole owner. LaRue also resigned from the Arcata Planning Commission, to which he'd been appointed on Aug. 15.

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Hops On Zee Bull

Posted By on Mon, Aug 27, 2012 at 9:44 AM


If you missed the sudsy action at Hops in Humboldt this weekend, first of all, shame on you. There was beer.

In addition, this year's festivities were enhanced by the presence of a bucking, gyrating mechanical bull. Many an event attendee took advantage of their liquid courage and embarked on a futile attempt to tame the restless beast.

We took pictures.

Join in these amateur cowboys' brief fame by viewing too many slightly embarrassing photos on our Facebook page. Yee to the haw.


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Friday, August 24, 2012

UPDATED: 'Terrorized': Arcata Planning Commissioner Accused of Drunken Door-Kicking

Posted By on Fri, Aug 24, 2012 at 9:59 AM

UPDATE #3: LaRue has relinquished his co-ownership of Redwood Curtain Brewing Co.

UPDATE #2: On Friday evening, LaRue sent a statement to the Journal, saying in part:

I wish to offer my sincerest apologies to the two women Jen Ables and Maral Attllah [sic]. I would like to assure them that I meant them no harm, and am truly sorry that I put them through an experience that made them feel unsafe in their own home and community. ... My actions in the morning hours of Aug. 18 are indefensible, and embarrassing. All I can do is ask these two women, and the community for forgiveness.

See his full statement in the comments section below.


UPDATE #1: LaRue has submitted a letter of resignation from the planning commission to city staff. The city council is expected to accept his resignation at its Sep. 5 meeting.

Original post:

Eli LaRue, the 32-year-old co-owner of Redwood Curtain Brewing Company and a recent appointee to the Arcata Planning Commission, has been charged with public drunkenness and violating his probation after reportedly trying to break into a house in downtown Arcata last weekend, terrifying the two women who'd been sleeping inside.

Arcata residents Jen Ables and Maral Attallah say LaRue repeatedly and violently tried to break into their home in the wee hours of last Saturday morning, damaging a window screen and nearly kicking in a side door, even as they yelled at him to leave. [Disclosure: I've met both women in passing at social gatherings, but neither is a close friend.]

LaRue was appointed to the city's planning commission last Wednesday. Via email, he declined to comment on the incident.

In a phone interview, Ables said she was awakened shortly after 4 a.m. by her dogs' frantic barking. Suspecting cats or raccoons, she peered out the window but saw nothing. She then heard a series of thumps, like someone putting things away in a closet, Ables told the Journal. She assumed it was Attallah; the two women's bedrooms share a wall.

"The dogs were just barking, barking, barking," Ables said. "I was starting to feel a little irritated. I couldn't go to sleep. Then I hear what sounds like her windows opening and closing, so I said, 'Hey, Maral, c'mon.' Then everything stopped."

Attallah, meanwhile, was asleep in the living room, where she'd drifted off in front of the TV hours earlier.

Ables went back to bed, only to be woken 20 minutes later by more thuds, more barking. She got up to investigate.

"Right when I came out of my room I heard a big boom," she said.

The noise snapped Attallah awake.

"I knew immediately someone was trying to break into the side door," Attallah said. "The windows off of the kitchen shook. The whole house shook."

Ables was terrified, but Attallah remained level-headed, telling Ables firmly but calmly to go back to her room -- someone was trying to break in.

"I just screamed 'cause I got really, really scared," Ables said.

Attallah told her to call 911, which she did, begging the dispatcher to hurry. Attallah then approached the side door and peered through its glass panes, catching a glimpse of LaRue, she said. Two more kicks. The door shook with each impact but didn't give.

A few years earlier, after some disoriented drunks had also tried to enter their home, the women had installed new deadbolts. Now, that thumb-sized stub of metal held their door firmly to the jamb.

Attallah called out to Ables, loud enough for the man outside to hear: "Get the shotgun! Get the handgun! Anyone comes to the door you shoot."

On the other side of the door, LaRue responded by muttering, "Hey," Attallah recalled.

She declined to say whether she actually owns a shotgun and a handgun. "I believe in my Second Amendment rights. That's what I feel comfortable saying."

Nearly hysterical with fear, Ables returned to her room and grabbed a small baseball bat. LaRue, she said, continued kicking the door. Attallah recalled what happened next:

I yelled, ‘I have a shotgun! You need to leave!' He said, ‘Hey, I'm comin' in.' That's when I said, ‘I will blow your fucking head off.' At that point he stopped. He stepped down off the porch. Then he turned. He was looking toward the back yard. I went up to the window to get his description. I moved the blind and I could see him perfectly. I could see everything as clear as day.

As LaRue walked away from the door, Attallah described him aloud to Ables. He climbed nimbly over the chain-link fence that surrounds the side yard and then fled, Attallah said. Arcata police officers arrived almost immediately thereafter and apprehended LaRue.

Both women feel that LaRue should have been charged with more than just public drunkenness, which is a misdemeanor and, for LaRue, a parole  probation violation. (Last year he pleaded "no contest" to misdemeanor driving under the influence.) Ables in particular says she was traumatized by the experience. 

"All weekend I'm fucking terrified out of my mind, [wondering], 'Is the guy coming back? What did he want?'" Ables said. "Even after finding out who he is, I'm still scared. That sucks. I still can't sleep. He took away that sense of security at home. That's not fair." 

Arcata officials would not release any details about the incident to the Journal, but the women said they were told by Arcata police officer Bob Martinez that LaRue had a blood alcohol level of 0.214, nearly three times the legal limit. Officer Martinez also told them that LaRue thought he was at his own house, and that he was too drunk to be charged with a more serious crime, such as vandalism or attempted burglary, according to Attallah and Ables.

Both women are frustrated. "It feels like we were really terrorized," Ables said.

But according to UC Davis Law Professor Gabriel "Jack" Chin, it is difficult to convict a person who was that drunk of a "specific intent" crime -- "that is, one where you have to have some particular purpose, motive or resolve, like burglary," Chin said.

California Penal Code Section 22 states that voluntary intoxication won't get you off the hook for any criminal liability, but it can be used as a defense to argue that you were too hammered to commit a "specific intent" crime.

"Now, does that mean a jury would necessarily accept [that defense]?" Chin asked. "No. Those sorts of mental state defenses are often rejected, and some states have abolished them by statute." But California is not one of those states, and Chin said other factors are often considered, such as whether or not the suspect has committed violent crimes before. 

Ables said the Arcata police department tried to put her at ease by telling her that LaRue has no history of violent crimes.

After hearing the details listed above, Chin said he understood why LaRue wasn't charged with anything more serious. "Drunk in public does sort of cover the situation you're describing to me," he said. 

Attallah and Ables disagree. They say LaRue seemed coherent -- climbing over their fence, responding to them verbally and kicking the door even after he'd been threatened. 

"He knew people were home; he knew there were dogs; he heard female voices. ... To me, there's some intent there," Attallah said. She believes that the charges against LaRue trivialize the severity of the experience. "Let's be honest here: Giving someone a drunk in public? That's a slap on the wrist. And with somebody who owns a brewery? That's almost a badge of honor."

The women have since upgraded the security in their house, but Ables is still shaken up. "I feel so bad for Jen; she is so traumatized," Attallah said. "Any little movement around the house she thinks someone is trying to get in."

Arcata police officers returned to the women's house Thursday morning to inspect damage to the house, including a bent window screen and splintered door jamb. 

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

'Awesome' Outside Lands

Posted By on Thu, Aug 23, 2012 at 11:03 AM

After a full festival dose of music, our teen correspondents Kaylee and Nick Savage-Wright report back from San Francisco's massive Outside Lands Festival.

Kaylee: Only a few hours after the first day ended, people were already reliving the events of the past 24 hours, already planning for next year, their talk full of words like "awesome," and "incredible" and "this-is-the-best-weekend-ever." I can agree wholeheartedly.

The Outside Lands Festival of 2012 took place Aug. 10-12 and gave everyone who attended three days of bliss, so that if the world really did end this year, it would be OK. One of the first and best performances I caught was Of Monsters and Men at the Sutro Stage. I made my way through the huge mass packing in to almost front row, cheering as loud as I could when the Icelandic band members came onstage at 5:40 p.m. Band members charmed their fans with jokes and energy, slamming on their instruments and grinning at each other. At one point the guitarist, Brynjar, stepped forward between songs and threw packets of Skittles into the crowd, his red jacket and candy-giving making him "like Santa Claus," as Raggi said. Besides candy, Of Monsters and Men gave us all a memorable hour of dancing and singing, its blend of Icelandic folk and pop with Nanna's and Raggi's beautifully unique voices leaving everyone wanting more.

When it was clear there was no encore to be had, I walked across the park to the Twin Peaks Stage to stake out a spot for Justice and meet back up with my friends.

Yet another European band making the night worthwhile, Justice threw a crazy performance at us, from the heavy bass blasting my eardrums to the wild, sweaty dancing of the enthralled mob. I almost had a heart attack when Jesus (a.k.a. Gaspard Augé) was suddenly crowd surfing, but my shock turned to laughter and cheering after only a moment of, What the hell? Justice was a great way to keep me awake for the rest of day one and yet tire me out perfectly, so that I crashed once we got back to my friend's brother's apartment.

Our concluding day at Outside Lands was possibly the best, the highlight definitely being Stevie Wonder. Around 7:20 p.m. the legend arrived on the stage, hundreds of people welcoming him with cheers of adoration and applause. He and his band returned the love with a soulful deliverance of R&B, swaying the crowd with lively jazz pieces and slower songs that made Stevie's words of peace and unity strike the heart.

Nick: Justice is a duo of French house producers. They played Friday night at the Twin Peaks stage. Justice had extremely long and drawn-out builds for their drops. My favorite part was when a Jesus figure rose and appeared to stand on the crowd as if they were water. As the drop built and built the two producers seemed to freeze in a salute to the robed man in the audience. The moment seemed to be frozen in time, even though it was probably several minutes. With a sudden explosion of music our savior dropped like the music into the crowd, disappearing from view.

MiMOSA is a dubstep producer from Los Angeles. He played Saturday afternoon at the Twin Peaks stage. He plays dubstep and electronic music, but also includes hip-hop songs and styles in his music. My favorite part was when he dropped "Hands on the Wheel" by Schoolboy Q featuring A$AP Rocky (a great new song for anyone into hip-hop).

Big Boi was my favorite show. He played on Saturday evening. at the Twin Peaks stage. For people who don't know, Big Boi was part of the hip-hop duo OutKast (with Andre 3000). He was there to make up for last year's power outage fiasco (the power to his stage didn't work and he had to cancel his show) and that's exactly what he did. "Ms. Jackson" sure took on a personal twist, and the crowd went loco after Big Boi played it. DJ Swift was ready for an encore, but sadly the tech guys had already cut the power to the stage and that was the end of the show.


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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Humboldt County's Recycling Goes Where?

Posted By on Wed, Aug 22, 2012 at 2:13 PM

The North Coast Journal followed some of Humboldt County's recyclables down to Solid Waste of Willits. The company's single-stream recycling system sorts and bales the materials to sell to buyers.

Scottie Lee Meyers' story follows your cans, bottles and paper products from the end of your driveway to the edge of the world. Look for it in this week's issue, on newsstands today and online tomorrow. [Update: Story here.]

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Assault Rifles, Heroin and $8,700 Discovered by EPD After High Speed Chase

Posted By on Wed, Aug 22, 2012 at 12:43 PM


Press release from the Eureka Police Department:

On 8/22/12, at about 12:25 AM, a Eureka Police Department Officer on patrol attempted to contact a subject known to him, Robert Ray Wildman (age 31), in the parking lot of Winco Foods.  Wildman was on active CDC parole for burglary.  He was also a heavily tattooed, documented member of a local criminal street gang.

Wildman fled in a vehicle (a gray 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee) and an approximately 41 minute/36 mile pursuit ensued which ended in the Trinidad area.  The pursuit reached speeds up to approximately 70 MPH on the highway.  At about 12:58 AM, an EPD officer successfully deployed a spike strip at Highway 101 and Murray Road which disabled Wildman’s car. Wildman’s vehicle eventually lost its front right tire causing it to ride on its rim.  The pursuit ended on Highway 101 around mile marker 99.43 when Wildman’s Jeep was no longer able to continue driving.

Wildman was taken into custody at gunpoint.  During a subsequent search of his vehicle, officers located a Norinco SKS assault rifle, approximately 20 grams of suspected tar heroin, and nearly $8,700.00 cash.  During the pursuit, officers also saw Wildman throw another firearm out of his vehicle.  This occurred around the first span of the Samoa Bridge.  The weapon, a SWD Industries “M-11 Nine” 9mm auto pistol, bounced off the railing and was recovered by officers. However, its detachable magazine fell into the bay.  A single 9mm bullet was recovered with the M-11 leading officers to believe it may have been loaded.  (The M-11 is a compact, high capacity, rapid fire weapon similar in appearance to a “Mac-10” or “Uzi”).
Wildman was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where he was booked for multiple felony offenses including:

    •    Unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon
    •    Possession of an assault weapon
    •    Possession of ammunition by a prohibited person
    •    Reckless evading of a peace officer
    •    Possession of a controlled substance
    •    Parole violation


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A Fair Day

Posted By on Wed, Aug 22, 2012 at 12:23 PM


The young man watched the horses parade around the corral near the race track just before one of last Saturday's races. His gaze lingering on Western Roses (No. 3), a curious, rolly-eyed steed with tongue perpetually stuck far out and to the right like a manic comic pushing to squeeze every last laugh out of its audience. Lookiloos, wandering up to stare a few seconds, noticed the tongue, laughed and said, why's his tongue hanging out? Beats me, the uninformed among us answered.


Was it funny? Was it sad or bad?

The trainer leading W.R. seemed to think it embarrassing, at least, as he kept trying to stuff the horse's tongue back inside his mouth. W.R. wasn't having it, and back out came the tongue. Cloppety clop clop.

The young man looked down at his racing form and made a note.

"You're betting on No. 3?" a stranger beside him asked.

"I think I might," said the young man.

"You're not bothered by the tongue?" the stranger asked.

"No, I always look for a horse that shows me something different."

And soon they were off -- the horses, that is, shooting from the gate and trampling down the groomed, wetted track. The crowd in the stands and the crowd on the grass roared and cheered in bet-fueled excitement.


Western Roses came in third. Maybe that mattered to the "something different" fellow. But the race grounds seemed filled with happy devil-may-careness. Lots of people with a stake on a pony or a jockey. Lots of people with a simple stake in having a good time. After the last race, some of them planned to saunter back out into the main fairgrounds to get a funnel cake drenched in strawberry and chocolate, then a beer, then a corn dog, eye the healthful vegetarian stall ruefully, go inside to pet the goats and talk to the cows and scratch a hog's belly then check out the collections and quilts and bizarro dollhouses, then wander back out into the foggy light for some of those beer-battered fries and, after a decent minute or two, an espresso.


The last days of the 116th Humboldt County Fair are upon us. You have several more chances to test your horse sense (or nonsense): Races start today (Wednesday), Saturday and Sunday at 2:07 p.m., and Friday at 3:07 p.m. Today's and Friday's race admission are free to all, and on Saturday ladies sporting a formal, fancy hat get in free.

There are no races on Thursday. However, admission to the fair itself is free on Thursday, and there's lots of other stuff to do (oink oink).

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Scat Dogs Spot Owls

Posted By on Thu, Aug 16, 2012 at 11:17 AM


No, they're not canine masters of jazzy nonsense, crooning in the moonlight. They're the University of Washington's Center for Conservation Biology detection dogs Shrek and Max, who've been trained to sniff out northern spotted owl pellets (the undigested stuff they hack up after a meal) at the bases of trees (and thusly find the owls).

Hey, works better than humans hooting for them, explains Lawrence LeBlond, writing on about the UW research, which recently was published in the science journal PLoS ONE. The research, conducted on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, compared the use of vocalizations to find owls to the use of the specially trained dogs. Notes LeBlond, though land managers and biologists have been hooting for spotted owls since the 1980s, "detection dogs have a much better track record at finding the species" -- especially now, as barred owls increasingly encroach upon spotted owl habitat and affect their behavior:

Experts are concerned that spotted owls may be timid about responding to vocalizations for instinctual fear that they are opening themselves up to attack if they do. ... The experts said the detection dogs improved the probability of finding the owls by 30 percent over the traditional vocalization methods.

The UW's dog-detectives website profiles many of its highly trained smartymutts. Max, it reveals, is a 7-year-old Australian cattle dog adopted from the Everett Animal Shelter in Washington in September 2007. Besides the Northern spotted owl, Max can sniff out wolverine, barred owl, grizzly bear, black bear, American pine marten, tiger and leopard.

Holy cow.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Reelection Made Easy

Posted By on Tue, Aug 14, 2012 at 5:00 PM


Journal intern Scottie Lee Meyers submits this report:

Arcata residents Jolian Kangas, Valerie Rose-Campbell and Mark Sailors all attempted to run for city council, but according to the city clerk's office (and as first reported by Kevin Hoover of The Arcata Eye), none of the three challengers managed to collect 20 signatures from Arcata voters and have thus failed to qualify for inclusion on the November ballot. 

The seats up for grabs are currently held by Mayor Michael Winkler, Vice Mayor Shane Brinton and Councilwoman Susan Ornelas, all of whom will be on the ballot. 

Deputy City Clerk Bridget Dory said potential candidates must provide at least 20 signatures of registered Arcata voters but cannot submit more than 30. Signatures are disqualified if they don't belong to registered Arcata voters or have non-valid addresses.
The city's signature requirement is less rigorous than even HSU's student government threshold. Students there must gather 50 valid signatures to run for council positions with Associated Students. To run for AS president, candidates must submit 150 signatures.

Arcata city council candidates had almost a month to gather signatures and had the option to file them a day early -- before the Friday 5 p.m. deadline -- to make sure their signatures checked-out. If errors came up, candidates would have had the opportunity to fix them. All three incumbents filed early while none of the challengers did so, according to Dory. 

Of the 27 signatures Kangas supplied, only 11 were valid. Rose-Campbell had 16 of 30 signatures verified. And only 15 of Sailors 26 signatures checked out. The three non-incumbents can still run as write-in candidates but must fulfill the same 20-signature requirement. The paperwork for write-in candidates must be filed between Sept. 10 and Oct. 23. 

Sailors learned of his disqualification this morning by phone. The 41-year-old owner of Kineticab, a bicycle taxi company, couldn't believe that all three challengers failed to qualify. "This whole thing smells fishy, as fishy as a fish processing plant," he said. "This is small town politics at play."  

He said he asked every single signee if he or she was registered to vote in Arcata. "I can see one or two of them might not have been bright enough to understand," he said, adding that having 11 disqualified didn't seem right. He's unsure whether he'll continue his campaign as a write-in candidate.

Campbell-Rose said she'll forge ahead in her bid for a council seat. She said she's pushing for support on her Facebook page and will canvass in the community.

Meanwhile, in Eureka, two council seats are up for grabs. In the 4th ward, Melinda Ciarabellini will run unopposed. When Frank Jager won his mayoral election in 2011, he appointed Ciarabellini to fill his position on the council. In the 2nd Ward, Joe Bonino, a payroll technician at HSU, will challenge incumbent Linda Atkins.

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