Saturday, June 18, 2016

Hitchhiker Killed in Rollover Crash

Posted By on Sat, Jun 18, 2016 at 11:21 AM

A single car rollover crash on State Route 299 left an unidentified hitchhiker dead on Thursday and a 21-year-old Eureka woman jailed on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter.

According to the California Highway Patrol, Adrian Pollock was driving eastbound in her 2008 Dodge pickup with her two young children, her husband, a friend and a hitchhiker shortly after 6 p.m. For unknown reasons, Pollock lost control of the vehicle on a curve and the pickup overturned. The hitchhiker, who was seated in the right front seat, was apparently not wearing a seatbelt was ejected from the vehicle. He sustained fatal injuries.

DUI is not believed to be a factor in the crash, but Pollock was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and booked into the Humboldt County jail, according to the CHP press release.

Last year, Humboldt County recorded 28 vehicle related fatalities, three shy of the record set in 2009 and equaled in 2012. This was at least the ninth roadway death recorded so far this year.

For more information, see the full CHP release copied below:

On Thursday, June 16, 2016, at 6:09 pm, 21 year old Adrian Pollock of Eureka, CA, was driving her 2008 Dodge pickup eastbound on SR-299 at the East Fork Campground, just west of Willow Creek.  Her passengers were her two young children, her husband, her friend, and a hitchhiker.  For reasons still under investigation, Ms. Pollock lost control of her vehicle in a left hand curve and ran off the south roadway edge of SR-299.  The pickup overturned and the hitchhiker, seated in the right front seat, was fully ejected and sustained fatal injuries.  All surviving occupants were transported to Mad River Community Hospital in Arcata with minor injuries.  The children were properly seated in child passenger safety seats and were uninjured.  Ms. Pollock was subsequently arrested for vehicular manslaughter and booked into the Humboldt County Jail. 
The identity of the deceased passenger is withheld pending notification of family.
DUI was not a factor.  The roadway was not closed.  The vehicle was not impounded.  The California Highway Patrol (CHP) Humboldt Area is investigating this traffic collision.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Humboldt is Orlando

Posted By on Tue, Jun 14, 2016 at 2:48 PM

Adults and kids alike showed up for the vigil at the courthouse on Monday. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • Adults and kids alike showed up for the vigil at the courthouse on Monday.

Like communities across the country, Humboldt County residents showed their support on Monday for the victims and families of the mass shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando. More than 50 people gathered with signs and rainbow flags at the county courthouse to hold hands and hear the names of the 49 victims read aloud. 

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Monday, June 13, 2016

Pride after Pulse

Posted By on Mon, Jun 13, 2016 at 9:50 AM

Chad Duran, Mason Trevino and Bill Shapeero at the Pride Picnic in Carson Park on Sunday. - JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • Chad Duran, Mason Trevino and Bill Shapeero at the Pride Picnic in Carson Park on Sunday.
On Sunday afternoon, Carson Park in Eureka was awash in sunshine as a dozen Pride Picnic attendees sat chatting at wooden tables. Most had woken up to the news of the early morning shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando that left at least 50 people dead, including the shooter, and another 53 injured. (See the Orlando Sentinal website for a timeline of the attack.) It was all the more reason to gather. 

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Sunday, June 12, 2016

TL;DR: Five Things You Need to Know About This Week's Cover Story

Posted By on Sun, Jun 12, 2016 at 8:59 AM

Charles Bean rolls down one of Eureka's waterfront trails. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • Charles Bean rolls down one of Eureka's waterfront trails.

Busy week? We get it. Here's what you might have missed from this week's cover story, "Slow Roll."

1. The thing most Humboldt folks say they love best about where we live is our wild places – the forests, beaches and trails. But this important resource is largely inaccessible to those in our community who are disabled. In our research, we found roughly 13 miles of trail for wheelchair users in our state parks, less than this in our national parks and about 20 miles between our three largest cities. There are also two beaches that meet the standards for the Americans with Disabilities Act, one of which has a beach wheelchair with special tires that can be checked out.

2. Information about how to find ADA-accessible facilities is hard to come by. Different jurisdictions may have their own maps, but these guides are often incomplete or outdated. A local advocacy group, Tri-County Independent Living, is working on putting together a complete list, but won't put the organization's name on it without verifying every single spot. “Sometimes the claim is that they are accessible but they technically don't meet the accessibility guidelines,” says Mary Bullwinkel, who is compiling the guide.

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Saturday, June 4, 2016

Eureka Council to Mull Rotating Free Camping Zone

Posted By on Sat, Jun 4, 2016 at 3:24 PM

A homeless man moves out of the PalCo Marsh during the city's May 2 eviction. - FILE
  • File
  • A homeless man moves out of the PalCo Marsh during the city's May 2 eviction.
The Eureka City Council will consider amending its recent shelter crisis declaration again Tuesday, this time to allow for a rotating free camping area for homeless people with nowhere else to go.

Currently, the city is allowing homeless people to camp in the city-owned parking lot on the corner of Koster and Washington streets during nighttime hours, as long as they pack up their stuff and leave shortly after daybreak. Now staff is proposing that, beginning June 11, the free-camping zone rotate every 30 days between the Koster and Washington property and two others: the parking lot at the foot of Del Norte Street and what the city refers to as the Dinsmore property, a vacant stretch of land near Target between the Multiple Assistance Center and Blue Ox Mill Works.

Both Eureka City Manager Greg Sparks and Police Chief Andrew Mills said the move is aimed at spreading out the impacts of the free-camping area and keeping the homeless people using it from getting too comfortable or entrenched in any one location. The proposed amendment doesn’t specify when, or if, the rotating free camping zone will end. The city first opened up the Koster and Washington property when it was preparing to clear the PalCo Marsh of more than 100 homeless camps and some questioned whether the city could push homeless people out of the marsh if it didn’t provide them with another place to go that wasn’t subject to the city’s no-camping ordinance. (That question ultimately spawned a federal lawsuit, despite the city's opting not to enforce its no-camping laws at the Koster and Washington lot.)

In the "City Manager's Column" in the city's June newsletter, Sparks wrote that about 35 people have been taking care of the free camping zone nightly at Koster and Washington. "This has not worked particularly well, due in large part to the lack of a day use area that could accommodate the need to be somewhere," Sparks wrote, adding that more and more people are spending their days hanging out on West Third Street near St. Vincent de Paul's free dining facility near Old Town.

Sparks notes in his message that clearing the Marsh did not "solve homelessness in Eureka" and that the city is witnessing "a combination of successful and negative outcomes." The negative outcome is the dispersion of homeless people from the marsh into other areas of the city — neighborhoods, business districts and other greenbelts. The only successful outcome Sparks mentioned in the message is the partnership between Betty Chinn and the Humboldt Coalition for Property Rights that converted large metal shipping containers into temporary living quarters for 40 people in a vacant lot on West Third Street. "This project has been an excellent example of the private sector getting involved to solve a problem," Sparks wrote.

A shopping cart behind the Bayshore Mall. - FILE
  • File
  • A shopping cart behind the Bayshore Mall.
In other matters, staff is recommending that the council amend its shopping cart ordinance to charge a $20 fee for returning a shopping cart to its lawful owner. Back in 2014, the council approved the ordinance in an attempt to regulate abandoned or stolen shopping carts, get them out of the hands of homeless people and back to their legal owners. The ordinance has been successful in reducing the number of carts around town, according to a staff report.

However, the existing ordinance allows cart owners a 72-hour grace period to pick up a cart found around town before facing a fee. Staff now wants that changed to make sure the city recoups the costs of recovering and storing carts and is suggesting the $20-per-cart fee.

To read more about these and other items, check out the city’s full agenda here. And click the PDF below to see the city's full June newsletter.

June Newsletter
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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Back When Celebrities Judged How Hot Your Teenager Was

Posted By on Thu, Jun 2, 2016 at 9:13 AM

As we trawled through some old Eureka High School yearbooks for vintage photos of Jimmy Smith for this week's issue, we stumbled on this bygone custom: writing to the hottest celebrity of the day and asking him or her to determine the most pulchritudinous of Eureka's young students. In honor of the Sequoia Spring Dance, faculty chose the most attractive senior class members (not creepy at all) and sent the photos on to Richard Chamberlain and Lana Turner. 

As you can see from the scanned pages, in 1965 Chamberlain chose senior Elaine Horntvedt as the most comely of the four finalists. Lana Turner, after proclaiming it one of the more difficult tasks of her career, proclaimed Steve Jacobs that year's Mr. Sequoia. Turner, who was married eight times, attempted suicide in 1951 and appeared at the murder trial of her young daughter, who stabbed her mother's abusive mobster boyfriend to death, had likely seen tougher. Chamberlain, meanwhile, was desperately trying to stay in the closet to save his career. (The celebrity judge in 1966 was Rock Hudson, incidentally.)

Were the lives of the class of 1965 equally turbulent? We've reached out to some of the seniors who appeared on these pages to ask. What was it like to have your attractiveness judged by a celebrity? If you're one of these former teens or their classmate, we'd love to hear from you.


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Sunday, May 29, 2016

TL;DR: Five Things You Need to Know from This Week’s Cover Story

Posted By on Sun, May 29, 2016 at 8:33 AM

Busy week? We get it. Here are some highlights from the cover to get you caught up.

It’s been two and a half years since St. Bernard pastor Eric Freed was killed in his church rectory home. With his killer now convicted and sentenced, the Journal wanted to find out how the congregation has recovered, and what has changed to make the community safer since Freed’s death.

1. In some ways, the St. Bernard Catholic Church congregation has grown since the New Year’s Day 2014 murder of father Eric Freed. “[Freed’s death] made us stronger," said parishioner Cathy Dellabalma. "It's brought us much closer and it's brought back some people who were away."

2. It wasn’t easy though. The church and its congregation came together immediately, with Bishop Robert Vasa of the Santa Rosa Archdiocese coming to Eureka the day of the killing and Father Loren Allen, who now serves as the pastor of the St. Philip Catholic Church in Occidental, returning to lead his former congregation for eight months. Tom Diaz now leads the congregation.

3. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office continues to release inmates at all times of day and night, despite pleas from the community and a recommendation from the Grand Jury to end late night releases, when buses don’t run, shelters are closed and social services are unavailable. The sheriff has cited constitutional concerns, but multiple counties around the state hold inmates until dawn for safety reasons, and one law expert says that policy is likely defensible.

4. The Sheriff’s Office has begun using an “exit exam” process, during which inmates let out late at night are observed for signs of intoxication or mental illness that could pose a danger to themselves or others, the Sheriff’s Office explains. Inmates are also offered the opportunity to call a friend or family member, a taxi, or stay in custody until daylight.

5. Gary Lee Bullock, who was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, gave three interviews to psychiatrists before his trial that lend some insight into his mindset the night he was released from the Humboldt County jail before killing Freed hours later. In the interviews, he talks about hearing voices induced by methamphetamine use.
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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Friends of Jimmy Smith Gather to Mourn

Posted By on Sat, May 28, 2016 at 9:22 AM

Pastor Rick McRostie, of Eureka, began the memorial for Jimmy Smith held Friday, May 27 at the Jimmy Smith Fields Landing Boat Launch in Fields Landing. - MARK LARSON
  • Mark Larson
  • Pastor Rick McRostie, of Eureka, began the memorial for Jimmy Smith held Friday, May 27 at the Jimmy Smith Fields Landing Boat Launch in Fields Landing.
There were more jeans than heels, and half the parking lot was filled with pickup trucks. The line of cars stretched down the small main street of Fields Landing, and the parking lot in front of the boat launch named in honor of the man everyone knew as Jimmy filled with mourners. A strong, persistent wind made the microphone hum and the speakers wobble. It was a good wind, the kind his friends said Jimmy would say was good for the salmon. It was the kind of day that brought the smell of the sea into your lungs, the kind Jimmy Smith would have liked.

Rex Bohn, who filled Smith’s seat representing the 1st District on the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors when Smith stepped down in 2012 due to health problems, was one of the first speakers. He said that he and other officials bent some rules in order to dedicate the ramp to his predecessor in 2014.

  • Mark Larson
“We broke procedure policy, we didn’t ask anybody, we just did it,” Bohn said, spurring the audience to applaud. Of course, the decision was voted in unanimously at the next board meeting. Smith, everyone agreed, was a rare kind of politician, the kind who united people who normally wouldn’t come together.

Third District Supervisor Mark Lovelace, who served on the board with Smith for four years, said privately that it took him a while to figure out his colleague’s method. For Smith, it was all about compromise.

“For a long time we were perceived as kind of a 2-2 board with Jimmy in the middle. But after a while, I realized that the last thing he’s going to do is stick a 3-2 crown on an issue. He’d hold out until the winning side would accommodate some things. He wanted a 4-1. Or a 5-0.”

Smith was dedicated to the preservation of wetlands, to rural communities, to knowing as much about what was going on in Humboldt as possible. Loretta Sands (formerly Loretta Nickolaus), a former county administrative officer and Jimmy’s “sister from another mister” spoke with reverence about her colleague and friend’s humility, about how during difficult financial times for the county, he demanded a cut in his salary.

“He never asked for reimbursement, never used a company car. It was his pleasure to serve,” Sands said. “He led by example. He’d do just about anything for anybody.”

Sands said, and everyone nodded, that the world would be a better place if everyone were a little more like Jimmy.

Other speakers talked about his dedication, how he never stopped working, about his yellow lined pads on which he’d write lists of things to do, checking them off one by one, about how he kept a garage so neat and clean you could eat off the floor. They spoke often of his wife, Jacque, who after 40 years of marriage Smith would still sometimes sigh about, saying, “Isn’t she cute?”

Smith’s many trips to rural parts of the county, his willingness to always take a phone call or buy dinner for a friend, to offer advice and champion for those who requested his help, would take him away from his beloved Jacque for long lengths of time. Bohn thanked her for nursing him in his final years, and for sharing him with the public.

Jacque Smith spoke with Ron Fritzsche, who served with Jimmy Smith on the Humboldt Bay Harbor District, prior to the memorial. - MARK LARSON
  • Mark Larson
  • Jacque Smith spoke with Ron Fritzsche, who served with Jimmy Smith on the Humboldt Bay Harbor District, prior to the memorial.
“Jacque, you shared him like no other person,” Bohn said. The audience clapped again. “We’re all better for having known him. I’m a better person for having known him” Bohn continued, adding that he often met Smith for breakfast and asked him for advice.

In the crowd, men dressed in baseball caps and Carharrts, fishermen and firefighters, lifted their sunglasses to carefully wipe their eyes. Couples leaned against one another for comfort and shelter from the wind. Jimmy’s widow sobbed next to the podium. Their son, Gary, proudly wore his father’s favorite hat, which was autographed by members of the television show The Deadliest Catch.

North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman, who drove from Sacramento to attend the memorial, shared his first impressions of Smith, who said he would endorse Huffman under realignment if his friend and the North Coast's former representative, Congressman Mike Thompson, also endorsed him. For the next few months, Huffman told the crowd, he was put through the paces. He met with multiple groups, multiple people, all over Humboldt County, what he called a “Humboldt County boot camp.” He said he knew that it was due to Smith’s prodding, that Smith thought it was important he knew the place he was representing. And when Smith gave his approval, Huffman received the full benefit of his influence, with support from all sides rolling in.

“One of the things I most appreciated about Jimmy is that his word was his bond,” said Huffman. “His reputation was just golden. He taught us that we need to treat other people, whether they agree with us or not, with respect. Wouldn’t politics be a lot better if we all did that?”

The audience applauded again. Huffman presented Jacque Smith with a plaque honoring her husband.

"I don't know where the souls of really good people like Jimmy go when they die," said Huffman. "But I hope the rivers are cold and clean, the salmon are thick and the ocean is calm."

Congressmen Jared Huffman and Mike Thompson sit among the crowd that gathered to remember Jimmy Smith. - MARK LARSON
  • Mark Larson
  • Congressmen Jared Huffman and Mike Thompson sit among the crowd that gathered to remember Jimmy Smith.
The speakers in the ceremony were split evenly between friends and colleagues, but it was clear from their anecdotes and warmth that Smith had a way of blurring that line. One person who embodied both roles was Thompson, who often went hunting and fishing with his late friend.

“I’m very, very proud to be here,” said Thompson when he got up to the podium, his voice colored with a sob at the bottom of his throat. “Jimmy was a different kind of politician. He was hard-working. He was humble. He knew people and he understood people. He was respectful to a fault. People respected him. I don’t know anyone who had a bad word to say about him. I’m honored to have known him. When we first met, we just clicked. I knew we were going to be friends."

Thompson echoed what had been said earlier, that the world would be a better place if everyone were a little more like Jimmy.

“Make sure that you matter. He did that,” Thompson said. “Everything he did improved life for everybody else. We should all do that.”

After a prayer and several readings from the Bible, the ceremony closed with a rendition of Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone). As the last notes faded and the singer began to leave the stage, before the crowd could begin to speak again, the wind caught the unattended microphone and added its own voice to the proceedings – a low rush of sound, a hum. It was the kind of quiet moment you get before the fish takes the bait or you snap the perfect shot on a duck, the kind of moment Jimmy would have liked, and the kind he had too little of as he sacrificed his time to service.
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Thursday, May 26, 2016

McGuire Helps Nab $1 Million for PalCo Marsh Trail

Posted By on Thu, May 26, 2016 at 1:19 PM

Mike McGuire
  • Mike McGuire
North Coast State Sen. Mike McGuire announced this morning that he's helped secure $1 million in state funding for the Eureka Waterfront Trail, which will transform the PalCo Marsh from its current blighted state into a waterfront nature trail.

The funding will help fund the construction of 3.75 miles of new trail, which will consist of an 8- to 10-foot-wide paved path and interpretive signs, as well as bridges and a boardwalk to mitigate impacts to sensitive wetlands. Some of the funding will also go toward razing the old concrete lumber kilns that the city has deemed a massive liability.

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Sunday, May 15, 2016

A Graduation Day Downpour: An HSU Commencement Slideshow by Mark Larson

Posted By on Sun, May 15, 2016 at 9:59 AM

Journalism graduate Rebekah Staub displayed her diploma as she left the stage in a downpour at the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences commencement on Saturday morning, May 14 in HSU's Redwood Bowl. - MARK LARSON
  • Mark Larson
  • Journalism graduate Rebekah Staub displayed her diploma as she left the stage in a downpour at the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences commencement on Saturday morning, May 14 in HSU's Redwood Bowl.

Rain fell during most of HSU's first commencement ceremony on Saturday morning, the weather thematically appropriate for HSU's informal motto: "I love Hills, Stairs & Umbrellas!" Most of the large crowd of attendees came prepared with umbrellas and rain gear, but HSU staff handed out free plastic ponchos to those who missed the weather forecast. The graduates sat patiently in their soggy regalia throughout the ceremony, but were apparently too chilled at the end to perform much of a toss of their soggy mortarboard hats into the air.

HSU Graduation 2016
HSU Graduation 2016 HSU Graduation 2016 HSU Graduation 2016 HSU Graduation 2016 HSU Graduation 2016 HSU Graduation 2016 HSU Graduation 2016 HSU Graduation 2016

HSU Graduation 2016

By Thadeus Greenson

Click to View 18 slides

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