UPDATE 2/13: It was revealed today that a body found on the beach in Samoa is in fact Jason's. More details here.
# # # # #
Last Friday night, Arcata resident Jason Lovell told friends he was going to see a movie. No one has seen him since. He was reported missing by his coworkers at the HSU bookstore after he missed a couple shifts. A flyer has been circulated by friends around social media stating the following:
Distinguishing marks: Barcode tattoo on calf and cartoon elephants on bicep. Reddish-brown beard. Jason's hair is buzzed and he has a slight beer belly. He
has been couch surfing and has no apartment or house. He was last seen at 11:45 p.m. and did not return. He has not reported for two days of work. His car has remained untouched with his belongings in it. His phone is assumed off or dead and he has not posted to Facebook since Friday.
Please call the Arcata Police Department at 707-822-2424 if you have any information. Recovery effort email: email@example.com.
# # # # #
UPDATE: A press release from the Arcata Police Department issued Wednesday states that "Lovell has a history of mental health issues and is considered at risk." The full release is below:
Lovell was reported missing on January 29th, 2013. He was last seen on the evening of January 25th in Arcata. Family and friends became concerned when Lovell failed to show up for work. His vehicle was found abandoned in the 1200 Blk of F St in Arcata. Lovell has a history of mental health issues and is considered at risk.
Lovell is described as a white male adult, 5’8” tall, weighing 150 lbs with short brown hair and hazel eyes. He has a short reddish brown beard.
Anyone who has seen Mr. Lovell or has any information as to his whereabouts is asked to call the Arcata Police Department at (707) 822-2428.
Loved ones have also set up a Facebook group to exchange information.
So, one of the cameras from last weekend's "News Channel 3" theft was recovered earlier today, along with some cables belonging to the station. (See the press release below.)
But more importantly (by which we mean way less importantly), the camera was recovered less than a block from what may be the greatest 360-degree panorama of Eureka ever documented by Google Street View.
On the 2600 block of Union Street, in the heart of Eureka's troubled west side, the roof-mounted Big Brother cam caught a poetically grimy urban tableau. The subjects -- two trios of proud Eurekans -- could be Humboldt County's answer to the "Mountain People" series by photographer Shelby Lee Adams. Or maybe the images should be painted by Miguel Calderon -- or, even better, Jesse Wiedel!
Whatever. They're awesome on their own terms.
Behold (click images to enlarge). Facing west:
And facing east:
In case you're interested in the actual story, here's the press release from the Eureka Police Department:
On the afternoon of 01/28/13, detectives from the Eureka Police Department's Problem Oriented Policing Unit (POP) responded to a neighborhood complaint in the 2500 block of Union St. The complaint alleged excessive foot and vehicle traffic coming from an apartment located in the alley.
Detectives contacted a female living in the apartment, who advised them one of the subjects living with her was Edward Charles Vercoe (12/28/69). Vercoe is on active PRCS Parole and is subject to search and seizure at anytime.
During a subsequent search, detectives located one-half gram of heroin and a Sony HD video camera they believed was related to a weekend burglary of News Channel 3. Employees from Channel 3 were contacted and responded to the scene where they positively identified the Sony camera and related cables. The employees from Channel 3 stated there are additional cameras and equipment outstanding.
Vercoe was not on scene at the time the search was conducted and is currently wanted for being in Possession of a Controlled Substance and Possession of Stolen Property.
Anyone with information regarding Vercoe's whereabouts can contact the Eureka Police Department, at (707) 441-4060, or call the Problem Oriented Policing Unit at (707) 441-4373.
The U.S. Supreme Court has resolved just how much prayer is OK at government meetings, but California's law is a fresh and different battleground, according to a lawyer suing Eureka over city-backed religiosity.
So yes, the U.S. president can have a prayer breakfast if he wants, but mayor Frank Jager? Well, attorney Peter Martin said the state's constitution is stricter, prohibiting any kind of promotion of religion.
On behalf of Eureka resident Carole Beaton, Martin is asking Humboldt County Superior Court to ban the city from holding prayers at city meetings and from using the mayor's office to promote prayer.
That sort of thing should stop, he said, because article 16, section five of the state constitution forbids promoting religion. Martin said he hasn't seen any case law that fully interprets that part of the constitution, so this could be a first.
Bring it on, said Jager, who by the way is leading a mayor's prayer breakfast at 7 a.m. on Feb. 7 at the Wharfinger building in Eureka. "If they want to sue us, fine, we'll take them on."
Jager said he is definitely holding the breakfast in his official role as mayor, and not as a private citizen. Donations and ticket sales will pay the $700 rental fee for the city-owned building, he said, unlike last year when prayer space was provided for free.
After earlier complaints, Eureka clarified its invocation policy in May 2012, asking potential pray-ers to sign a volunteer form acknowledging that courts don't allow references "to a specific religion, prophet or deity."
Jager said that policy has been followed since, although Martin disagreed, saying a Hindu prayer back in August stepped over the sectarian line.
The mayor said Monday afternoon that he hadn't yet seen the suit, which was filed on Friday and amended on Monday. But he knows the lawyer involved. "Peter Martin, he's a good buddy of mine. We'll invite him to the prayer breakfast. And if he doesn't come, we'll pray for him."
Because the internet was invented for sharing cat pics, we bring you "Today in Feline." Only this one's significantly more badass. Check out this shot taken by Ferndale's Dustin DelBiaggio of local police and fire attempting to assist a seemingly helpless cat down from a telephone pole. A reenactment:
Dude in orange sweatshirt: "No really, you gotta come down."
Super Cat: "Fine."
That's when Super Cat revealed his true self and took to the skies. According to Dustin DelBiaggio, post-jump "the cat seemed fine, it took off running toward the fairgrounds when it landed…"
We salute you, Super Cat. Come back again.
(Click photo to enjoy the reactions of shocked humans in a more zoomed in fashion.)
Yes, but what are going to name Ferndale's mysterious flying cat? If you have a suggestion that is better than what we've been going with ("Super Cat"), please leave a comment.
# # # # #
UPDATE 1/29: Newly released photo evidence show's Super Cat before his superfeline transformation. This is the equivalent of snagging a shot of Spiderman AND Peter Parker in the same day. Total amazeballs.
You're hired, Mr. DelBiaggio. Well done.
(Click to expand.)
The station may call itself "News Channel 3," but I suspect they'd rather not be the news. A trailer behind the staion's Humboldt Hill HQ was allegedly broken into over the weekend, with the thief making off with roughly $10,000 worth of equipment, including four news cameras.
The stolen items were last seen in the trailer at 8:30 p.m. Saturday night, 1-26-2013 and were discovered missing on Sunday, 1-27-2013, approximately 11:00 a.m.
Anyone with information for the Sheriffs Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriffs Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriffs Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.
With the debate surrounding gun control heating up and President Obama calling for action on a national level, Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Downey said today that he stands with a group of sheriffs resisting federal control.
Downey is among the law enforcement officers on a "growing list of sheriffs saying ‘no' to Obama gun control," according to the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association.
"For me it's a constitutional issue," said Downey, confirming his alliance with CSPOA.
According to the Texas-based group founded by former Arizona sheriff Richard Mack, "Sheriffs have risen up all over our great nation to stand up against the unconstitutional gun control measures being taken."
Also included on the list of 90 county sheriffs from around the U.S. are Mendocino County Sheriff Thomas Allman, Del Norte County Sheriff Dean Wilson and Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey.
Former sheriff Mack is a member of Oath Keepers with a history of resistance to federal gun control. While serving as sheriff in Arizona, he initiated Mack and Printz v. United States (co-plaintiff Jay Printz was a Montana sheriff). The lawsuit challenged a portion of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act that established a national instant background check system. The suit ultimately made it to the Supreme Court where the justices ruled 5-4 that certain provisions of the Brady Act were unconstitutional.
There she is, shaking up something yummy in a photo in February's Sunset magazine (click it to enlarge): Amy Stewart, Drunken Botanist extraordinaire, best-selling author, Eureka resident and of course, NCJ columnist. Stewart's short piece on her cocktail garden comes with scrumptious photos and one of her intoxicating recipes. Plenty more will be available in March when her new book comes out.
In the meantime, here's a video from Stewart's blog showing how to create your own "cocktail garden."
On Friday, the owners of the Fieldbrook Family Market announced via Facebook that the store will be closing Feb. 2.
"We hope to be opening up again soon, but as for now we are reaching uncertain territory with no guarantees," the announcement said, rather cryptically.
Reached by phone this afternoon, owner Richard Seaman politely declined to provide any more details but reiterated that permanent closure "is not a hundred-percent certainty."
I know I'm not alone in my fervent hope that Seaman or someone else will find a way to reopen the adorable little convenience store, because here's the thing about the Fieldbrook Market: It's really an essential part of the community.
For decades it has offered far more than six packs, candy bars and the staples that save residents from another long drive over the hill. The Fieldbrook Market is the gathering place for a community of less than 900 folks spread all over the surrounding hills.
My family moved to Fieldbrook in the summer of 1987, right before I started sixth grade. Back then the store was owned and operated by brothers Ron and Bill Daley, who held onto the place for 34 years before selling it to a young couple back in the early aughts. Seaman took over the business from them in October 2005.
As a kid, the Fieldbrook Market always served as the meeting spot for my friends and me. After making arrangements on the phone, I'd hop on my BMX bike and pedal a bumpy mile down gravelly roads -- always either dusty or muddy -- until I zoomed onto the smooth asphalt of Fieldbrook Road. Another half mile and I was at the store, where I'd prop my bike against the wall and head inside to browse the candy racks. Ten-cent boxes of Lemonheads and Red Hots were often winners, though sometimes I'd splurge and treat myself to an apple fritter.
My first Halloween in Fieldbrook, two of my friends and I dressed up as Hispanic caricatures (our hair spray-died black, mascara mustaches drawn on our upper lips) so we could lip-sync "La Bamba" at a Fieldbrook Grange talent show. (Sadly, I didn't get the Ritchie Valens role; I was the drummer, using chopsticks to ride a hi-hat made from a round, styrofoam pizza box. Ah, the '80s.)
When the three of us walked into Fieldbrook Market, Bill Daley insisted on taking our picture so he could post it on the wall with all the others -- dozens of snapshots of local kids in their costumes, which stayed taped there for months. He and Ron knew just about everyone who walked through the door, and even if they didn't they'd still offer friendly smiles.
Fieldbrook is small enough that residents can pretty much count on bumping into someone they know at the market. I haven't spent nearly as much time there over the past two decades, but I've been back frequently enough to see that it still serves this purpose: It gives Fieldbrook folks the sense that they comprise a community rather than just a smattering of houses in the woods.
Seaman has placed less emphasis on the "store" and more on the gathering spot, booking lots of live music, hosting kids' birthday parties, increasing the offerings at the deli, adding beers on tap and taking out an aisle of merchandise to make room for more tables and chairs. For the past four years the store has been preparing and delivering the school lunches for Fieldbrook Elementary students.
But Seaman said this afternoon that economic times have caught up with him. (Central Kitchen in McKinleyville is set to take over the school lunch production.)
Here's hoping it's not closed for long.
Update Jan. 22: Officer Stonebarger has been on paid medical leave from the city of Arcata since Aug. 27, Police Chief Tom Chapman said today. The leave has stretched to nearly five months so far, and according to the disciplinary records it began the same day that the officer had been scheduled to meet with the chief about his transfer and loss of speciality pay. Instead, that morning, Stonebarger's lawyer said his client would be responding in writing, because he had sustained an injury the night before.
The nature of the injury was not specified.
Original post: The Lost Coast Outpost reports that Kevin Stonebarger, an Arcata police officer who served briefly in the county's Drug Task Force, has filed a claim against the city of Arcata, alleging that he was defamed and lost his slot as a firearms instructor at College of the Redwoods.
What did that claim of defamation involve?
Stonebarger alleges that someone tipped the college off that he had been disciplined for a Feb. 22, 2012, dispute with a tow truck driver, who had been called to tow the illegally parked vehicle of another task force member.
It was a messy episode, LoCo reports, with allegations of shouting, bullying, flashing badges but then refusing to give a badge number or name, and threatening a candy store owner with arrest because he started recording the thing with his cell phone. (His was the parking space occupied by one of drug enforcers while they were lunching at Eureka's Pho Thien Long.)
The claim, which LoCo says the city of Arcata has denied, was backed up with a fat bunch of documents that apparently have been dragged into what could become a lawsuit. Among them are a Sept. 7, 2012, notice of disciplinary action from Arcata Police Chief Tom Chapman to Stonebarger.
It reads in part:
"Asserting your authority as a sworn police officer to order people to stop engaging in perfectly legal conduct was inappropriate and a violation of departmental policy. Furthermore, the manner in which you handled this incident was discourteous, disrespectful, and frankly an embarrassment to the Department. I am shocked to hear that you believe you handled it the ‘best I possibly could.' ..."
The notice also points out that Stonebarger had had previous conversations with the chief about "poor interpersonal skills and judgment" and was only allowed onto the task force under special provisions for additional supervision.
Oh, this is sad for me -- not only because I hate to witness the slow demise of video stores but because of my personal connection to this one in particular. I worked at the Arcata branch of Figueiredo's for years (hence my ease with all those vowels in the name). Met my wife there, in fact.
No word yet on the official last day, but the press release below says the other locations will remain open.
David and Dana Figueiredo, owners of the Figueiredo's Video locations in Arcata, McKinleyville and Fort Bragg, have decided it's time to close the Arcata branch, which has been part of the community for 30 years.
The McKinleyville location will still offer the same great prices and extensive selection, and there will be a drop box in Arcata for the convenience of customers who rent from the other Fig's locations. Fig's will be incorporating many of the Arcata movies into the McKinleyville store. David's brother, Bob Figueiredo still operates his Eureka and Fortuna locations.
Dana and David want to thank their many patrons for their continued support and loyalty over the years, as well as the many employees who have worked with them. Without the employees diligence and dedication they would not have had the time to enjoy their family and friends, or be able to be involved in the many community activities they so enjoy.
A special thanks goes to general manager Muriel Craig, who not only curated the vast selections in the stores, but also has been an extremely loyal friend, second mother and Nana to their family these past 30 years.
David and Dana remember their two children as babies in this family business; now they're college graduates starting lives of their own. When it doesn't make them feel too old, they love seeing their former employees in the community, some of them with children of their own.
David and Dana appreciate the Arcata community and wish you all the best.
@Mike Buettner: Albin will be up for reelection next year. If reelected twice he could…
Eureka citizens and their "community media" should share outrage that two, out of five, Eureka…
Oh, Steve... I wish your spirit a peaceful journey. Great keyboardist and a generous man…
13. Respect proper punctuation and the use of capital letters!
How long is his term?