Wednesday, September 28, 2016

State Approves Closure of Three Skilled Nursing Facilities

Posted By on Wed, Sep 28, 2016 at 5:05 PM

Granada Rehabilitation and Wellness Center, one of the only sites that will remain open. - PHOTO BY CARRIE PEYTON DAHLBERG
  • PHOTO BY carrie peyton dahlberg
  • Granada Rehabilitation and Wellness Center, one of the only sites that will remain open.
The California Department of Public Health announced today that it has approved the closure of three skilled nursing facilities: Seaview, Pacific and Eureka Rehabilitation & Wellness Centers. According to Suzi Fregeau, long-term care ombudsman at the Area 1 Agency on Aging, this means as of tomorrow admittance of new patients to skilled nursing facilities will be closed, leaving hundreds of North Coast residents who need 24-hour care in the lurch.

"The community will be very affected," said Fregeau. "There are 28 open beds in Fortuna [Rehabilitation and Wellness Center], but those will be for people who are in facilities that are being shut down. People in St. Joseph's or in the hospital will have to go out of the area."

The closure plan, originally filed by Rockport in August, and refiled with revisions on Sept. 15, includes a list of facilities in California that currently have vacancies. The closest, in Crescent City, is 83 miles away. Most of the others are over 100 miles away: in Redding, Mendocino and as far away as Klamath Falls, Oregon. Advocates and family members have argued that placing frail, elderly people far away from their families leaves them vulnerable to transfer trauma and removes the support provided by family and community. Rockport has stated that it was losing money due to staff shortages in Humboldt County, saying it had to recruit staff from outside of the area in order to meet its quota.

The potential closure of the facilities was met with widespread opposition from the local and state ombudsman offices, as well as Assemblymember Jim Wood and State Senator Mike McGuire. The ombudsman office sent a letter to the CDPH requesting a complaint investigation and a petition for receivership, which would halt the closures.

In a reply dated today, the state responded that it found the facilities were providing adequate care and "staffing letters were adequate to meet residents' needs." This is in opposition to testimony by patients and family members who attended a meeting with Rockport's CEO, Vincent Hambright, earlier this month. One man stated that he had not had his wound dressing changed in two days because "there was no wound care nurse available." Family members stated they had been told by staff members that there were not enough staff available to meet patient needs and that their charges were suffering as a result.

McGuire's office sent out statement late this afternoon condemning the closures.

“I’m extremely disappointed and frustrated that our hands have been tied and that Rockport will be allowed to close these facilities — this plan is completely irresponsible,” Senator McGuire wrote. “Rockport’s devastating closure plan is unprecedented — and will impact the lives of patients and their families, putting the health and safety of our most vulnerable residents at risk. We worked hard to bring all sides together and find common sense solutions, but, in the end, we did not have a willing partner in Rockport Healthcare Services.”


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UPDATE: Eureka Approves Containerville Move, $75k in Funding

Posted By on Wed, Sep 28, 2016 at 11:54 AM

The shipping container village at the corner of Commercial and Third streets may soon find itself on the move. - THADEUS GREENSON
  • Thadeus Greenson
  • The shipping container village at the corner of Commercial and Third streets may soon find itself on the move.
UPDATE:
The Eureka City Council voted unanimously yesterday to approve a new location and provide $75,000 in funding for the shipping container shelter project for the homeless.

After hours of discussion and public comment, the council voted to relocate the project that currently shelters about 40 people in a vacant lot on the corner of Third and Commercial streets to a city-owned lot at Koster and Washington streets. The new location will be in place for a year, pending the California Coastal Commission’s emergency approval and the city’s following through with a local coastal plan amendment in the coming months.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Volunteer Fire Captain Killed in Fortuna Shooting

Posted By on Tue, Sep 27, 2016 at 11:08 AM

Timothy Smith - FACEBOOK
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  • Timothy Smith
The Fortuna Police Department today identified the victim of yesterday’s fatal shooting as Timothy Thomas Smith, a Fortuna resident and captain with the city’s volunteer fire department. He was 42.

According to a police department release, an autopsy has been scheduled for later this week.

“He has set the example for the department’s motto ‘Always Ready – Always Willing,’” Fire Chief Lon Winburn said in a February 2015 Humboldt Beacon article after Smith was awarded the department’s Firefighter of the Year honor. “This award is presented to someone whose actions has gone well beyond the call of duty and deserves to be recognized by his/her peers. … Smith was selected for his dedication and commitment to the department.”

The suspect, Jon David Goldberg, was arrested Monday night with the assistance of the Humboldt County SWAT team. Police said the shooting is believed to be related to a personal dispute between the two men.

Release from the Fortuna Police Department:

On 9/26/2016 at about 7 PM The Humboldt County SWAT team assisted by officers from the Fortuna Police Department served a Ramey arrest warrant at a residence located at 32950 Highway 36. Officers located Jon David Goldberg, age 36, inside the residence and arrested Goldberg for murder in connection to the Fortuna Police Department murder investigation.
Goldberg will be booked into the Humboldt County Jail for 187 PC, Murder.

The Fortuna Police Department wants to thank the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department, Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office and the California Highway Patrol for their assistance in this case.

Earlier release: On 9/26/2016 at about 12:45 PM officers from the Fortuna Police Department responded to the 3100 block of Rohnerville Rd. for a report of a shooting victim.

Upon arrival, officers located a deceased 42 year-old male lying in front of a residence. The subject died of multiple gunshot wounds. .

Officers learned through witness statements that the suspect (shooter) and victim knew each other and that the suspect had arrived at the victim’s residence on Rohnerville Rd. and engaged in a brief argument.

The suspect then shot the victim several times at point blank range and fled in a white Dodge minivan; heading east on Rohnerville Rd. It is believed that the shooting is the result of a personal dispute between the two parties.

This is an ongoing and very active investigation. More information will be released soon.

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Monday, September 26, 2016

Local Veteran Rolls Through Humboldt to Raise Awareness for Suicide Prevention

Posted By on Mon, Sep 26, 2016 at 12:28 PM

J.C. Cook on the road. - FACEBOOK
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  • J.C. Cook on the road.
Two veterans are riding 2,200 miles on specialized four-wheel drive mobility chairs, from the Canadian border to Mexico, then back to Fresno, to bring attention to the 22 veterans said t0 commit suicide in the United States every day. (The most recent analysis from the Dept. of Veteran's Affairs actually puts the number at 20.) John "J.C." Cook, a 2001 Fortuna High School graduate, and Sgt. Justin Bond, founder of Our Heroes' Dreams, will be rolling into Humboldt County this Friday, along with their helper dogs Ivy and Boomer.  Master Sergeant Ernest Serrato, president of the organization, is providing support to the team by driving alongside them in a truck with supplies.

"We're calling it Operation Battlefield," said Cook, who called us from Coos Bay. "I understand what a lot of the guys are going through."

Cook, who had his leg amputated below the knee after a routine ankle surgery led to a severe infection, struggled in the past with addiction and suicidal thoughts. Because he did not see active duty — he was an aircraft mechanic in the Navy — he had trouble reaching out for the help he thought other veterans "deserved" more. 

"I was a shell of a person," he said. "But then I found these other veterans."

The support of other veterans and the San Francisco Veteran's Administration, as well as his wife, led Cook to recovery. He has been clean for more than three years and now seeks to connect fellow veterans with resources. The "zoom chairs" he and Bond are using, for example, are available to veterans injured in the 
Cook and Long enroute to Humboldt County. - FACEBOOK
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  • Cook and Long enroute to Humboldt County.
line of duty for free, thanks to a nonprofit called The Independence Fund. The model Cook uses can go up to 12 miles per hour. Although that makes for a slow and steady journey, Cook said he appreciates its offroad capabilities, which make it possible for him to go to the beach and appreciate nature.

Bond, who lost his legs after being shot through the knees in the Battle of Fallujah, has done a number of events to raise awareness and money for veterans, including once riding a segway from Monterey to Jacksonville, Florida. "Operation Battlefield" hopes to raise enough money to purchase 55 acres of land in Monterey for permanent use as a veteran's ranch. The group currently operates a "Healing Safari," where veterans in crisis can receive counseling and take part in family-oriented activities. Cook says it will be great to have a "safe place" to bring veterans who call Our Heroes' Dreams hotline.

In the meantime, Cook is looking forward to connecting with his Humboldt County roots and introducing Bond and the rest of the support team to some of his favorite places. He says he definitely plans to stop by No Brand Burger Stand and the Apple Harvest Festival. They will stay with Cook's family in Carlotta, to save money. 

Cook says the scenery has been great so far, but the best thing about the trip has been meeting people who donated time, money and support to Operation Battlefield. An American Legion group provided a motorcycle escort for the veterans from their starting point on Sept. 11. Other people honk and wave, pull over and hand the men money.

"I've met some really great Americans," Cook said. "It's really good to see. Especially with everything that’s going on in our country right now. There are good people in the world. We’re finding them."
Cook and his loyal service dog, Ivy. - FACEBOOK
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  • Cook and his loyal service dog, Ivy.

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Sunday, September 25, 2016

HumBug: False Scorpions

Posted By on Sun, Sep 25, 2016 at 3:31 PM

Pseudoscorpion on 1/8-inch ruled graph paper. - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • Pseudoscorpion on 1/8-inch ruled graph paper.

A little over 20 years ago, after moving to the country, I noticed a tiny, dark critter, no bigger than a newsprint letter “o” scurry across my counter. I scooped it up and checked it out with a hand lens. It was an animal I had only read about, a book scorpion or pseudoscorpion. After looking a bit I let it go outside. I've been on the lookout for them ever since.

When I got my new “super macro” lens, I went around snapping pictures of every little thing. When I downloaded some images of a tiny spider, I saw it was in the process of eating one of the strange little beasts. It made for a couple of dramatic and interesting photos but what I really wanted was the pseudoscorpion itself.
Running crab spider devouring pseudoscorpion. - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • Running crab spider devouring pseudoscorpion.
The other night at the light trap I noted a tiny dot on the old bedsheet I use as a reflective backdrop. I was surprised to see one of the tiny creatures. This time I took a lot of photos, captured it and took some more before letting it go.
Pseudoscorpion on the white sheet of my light trap.  The weave should give you an idea how small they are. - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • Pseudoscorpion on the white sheet of my light trap. The weave should give you an idea how small they are.
I don't think it was attracted to the lights. They are active hunters so I think it was just exploring.
While they are seldom seen, I suspect they're pretty common, feeding on tiny animals among leaf litter. Although they lack their larger cousin's tail and stinger, their claws (pedipalps) have tiny venomous bristles on their “thumbs,” so the prey gets crushed, pierced and poisoned in one swift move. They pose zero threat to humans and are considered beneficial since they eat mites, carpet beetles, carpet moth larvae and just about anything else small enough for them to attack. Many species of these little arachnids are known to hitch rides on insects and even birds. I really like these little guys.

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Klamath Dam Removal Takes a Step Forward

Posted By on Sun, Sep 25, 2016 at 9:42 AM

Irongate Dam on the upper Klamath River. - COURTESY OF AMERICAN RIVERS AND KLAMATH RESTORATION COUNCIL
  • Courtesy of American Rivers and Klamath Restoration Council
  • Irongate Dam on the upper Klamath River.
The newly formed nonprofit Klamath River Renewal Corporation and dam owner PacifiCorp filed applications Friday with federal regulators to decommission the four hydroelectric dams that clog the Klamath River.

The filings were hailed by proponents of dam removal as a milestone in refurbished plans to see the lower Klamath River dams removed in 2020. The dams block fish passage and contribute to the poor water quality on the lower river, which is currently seeing some of its lowest salmon returns in history. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will now determine whether to approve the license transfer and surrender applications, and will ultimately be the agency to decide whether to approve removal of the four dams.

“The deplorable water quality, back-to-back disease outbreaks and bottomed-out fish runs have taken a tremendous toll on our people,” said Yurok Tribal Chair Thomas O’Rourke Sr. “We welcome this major step toward restoring Klamath fish populations and providing salmon once again to our upstream neighbors, the Klamath Tribes.”


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Friday, September 23, 2016

Redwood Borough

Posted By on Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 4:30 PM

Artist's concept of the tiny Humboldt-inspired forest exhibit set to open in Brooklyn. - PUBLIC ART FUND
  • Public Art Fund
  • Artist's concept of the tiny Humboldt-inspired forest exhibit set to open in Brooklyn.
A tiny Humboldt County-inspired redwood forest is taking root in downtown Brooklyn as part of a public art project set to open on Oct. 1.

Spencer Finch’s Lost Man Creek exhibit — which replicates a 790-acre section of the Redwood National Park on a 1:100 scale with some 4,000 dawn redwood seedlings being planted by volunteers.

“Lost Man Creek reflects Finch’s fascination with activating the imagination through observation of natural phenomena,” said Public Art Fund Director and Chief Curator Nicholas Baume. “For many years he has explored the ineffable qualities of our ever-changing natural world through wide-ranging mediums, but this is his first use of living trees.”

The New York-based Public Art Fund reached out to the Humboldt County Visitors’ Bureau in January, which help connect the artist with the Save the Redwood League, which provided detailed topographical information for the living exhibition.

Press release from the Public Art Fund:

Public Art Fund and Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC) announce Spencer Finch: Lost Man Creek, an extraordinary new exhibition at MetroTech Commons that recreates, at a 1:100 scale, a 790-acre section of the Redwood National Park in California, one of the United States’ most treasured natural wonders.

In this living artwork, Brooklyn-based artist Spencer Finch scales down the topography and tree canopy of his selected section, with trees that range from 98 to 380 feet becoming 1 to 4 feet in the installation. Finch’s miniature forest for Downtown Brooklyn will live in the eastern triangular lawn of MetroTech Commons, with a footprint measuring 4,500 square feet, and will feature some 4,000 young Dawn Redwoods. Visitors will be able to experience the work from a viewing platform installed on one side of the work, as well as from ground level, offering different perspectives of the work. Spencer Finch: Lost Man Creek is free to the public and on view October 1, 2016 through May 13, 2018 at MetroTech Commons, Downtown Brooklyn.

“Lost Man Creek reflects Finch’s fascination with activating the imagination through observation of natural phenomena,” said Public Art Fund Director and Chief Curator Nicholas Baume. “For many years he has explored the ineffable qualities of our ever-changing natural world through wide-ranging mediums, but this is his first use of living trees.”

To realize Lost Man Creek, Finch collaborated with the Save the Redwoods League, which provided details like topographical and canopy height maps of a select section of the protected, inaccessible forest. Utilizing these resources, Finch created a vision of the site at a 1:100 scale for MetroTech Commons. The miniature forest will flourish with the help of a specific planting and irrigation system, designed to provide the trees with an optimum living environment within this urban context. When the exhibition closes, these trees will be rehoused.

“We are excited to team up with Public Art Fund for our 23rd year to bring beautiful art to
MetroTech Commons,” said Ashley Cotton, Executive Vice President at FCRC. “The work of Brooklyn-based artist Spencer Finch will be on display for a year and a half, longer than any past installation that we have done with Public Art Fund, giving visitors an opportunity to fully engage with one of the world’s most renowned forests through the eyes of one of Brooklyn’s most highly regarded artists”.

At the core of Finch's practice is an ongoing investigation into the nature of light, color, memory, and perception. The artist is known for transforming his own observations of a particular time
or place into various media from painting, drawing, and photography to installation. Lost Man
Creek references the fleeting and the temporal elements inherent in all areas of life, with the
artist mining the observed world to create a poetic installation that speaks to a shared existence.

Among previous projects are A Certain Slant of Light (2014-15), a large-scale installation at The
Morgan Library & Museum inspired by its collection of medieval Books of Hours; Trying To
Remember the Color of the Sky on That September Morning (2014), composed of 2,983
individual watercolors representing the artist’s recollection of the sky on September 11, 2001;
There Is Another Sky (2014), which transformed a formerly dark alley into an urban forest
sanctuary at South Lake Union, Seattle; Painting Air (2012), an installation of more than 100
panels of suspended glass inspired by the colors of Claude Monet's garden at Giverny; and The
River That Flows Both Ways (2009), a permanent installation composed of an existing series of
windows transformed with 700 individual panes of glass representing the water conditions on
the Hudson River over 700 minutes in a single day.

“Through both a scientific approach to gathering data—including precise measurements and
record keeping—and a poetic sensibility, Finch’s works often inhabit the area between objective investigations of science and the subjectivity of lived experience,” said Associate Curator Emma Enderby, who organized the exhibition. “In a world where climate change is at the core of societal debates, Finch’s installation in the heart of one of the most urbanized neighborhoods
of the city presents us with the universal reality of nature’s power to awe and inspire, and the
importance to remember and protect such wonders.”

In conjunction with the exhibition, Spencer Finch will give a Public Art Fund Talk at
The New School on November 16 where he will focus on his various public and large-scale installations.


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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Internet Drug Sends Eureka High Students to Hospital

Posted By on Thu, Sep 22, 2016 at 4:24 PM

FILE
  • File
A number of Eureka High School students were hospitalized today after taking a natural hallucinogen.

Eureka Police Chief Andrew Mills said it’s believed a student purchased Hawaiian baby woodrose seeds over the Internet and shared them with his friends, many of whom then suffered nausea, vomiting and generally “feeling terrible.” In addition to the students who were hospitalized, some were sent home with their parents, Mills said.

City Ambulance of Eureka transported one student to the hospital, and others were treated by Humboldt Bay Fire or transported to St. Joseph Hospital by their parents.

Mills said he believes all students are expected to fully recover but couldn’t say that with certainty at this point. Eureka High School Principal Jennifer Johnson said it appears some students ingested the seeds not knowing their hallucinogenic qualities. 

Hawaiian baby woodrose is a perennial climbing vine with large heart-shaped leaves and white trumpet-like flowers. It’s large furry seeds grow in pods, and contain Lysergic Acid Amide, a naturally occurring tryptamine that gives off LSD-like psychedelic effects. According to the drug information website erowid.org, when the seed are chewed they give off a hallucinogenic trip that lasts for six to eight hours.

Webmd.com warns that ingesting the seeds is unsafe, and can cause side effects like nausea, vomiting, dizziness, blurred vision, rapid eye movement, sweating, increased heart rate and high blood pressure. People with psychiatric conditions or psychotic tendencies might also suffer more severe reactions, the site warns.

Johnson said the school's automated phone system has notified all parents of what happened, urging them to talk to their children about the dangers of ingesting unknown substances. She said about 10 students total took the drug, and said they were very cooperative with the school's investigation.

"We do know who the source of the seeds was and that student is facing disciplinary consequences," Johnson said. 

Mills, who spoke to the Journal on his way to St. Joseph Hospital, said the case remains under investigation.

“The main thing from our standpoint is we are investigating it and if we can bring charges on it, we will,” Mills said, adding that officials already believed they have identified the student who purchased the drug and brought it to school. “The problem is, and I could be wrong, but I don’t believe it is a scheduled narcotic. The question then is, what can we charge?”


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UPDATE: Judge Allows Budget Motel Evictions to Proceed

Posted By on Thu, Sep 22, 2016 at 10:35 AM

THADEUS GREENSON
  • Thadeus Greenson
UPDATE:
In a ruling filed this afternoon, a Humboldt County Superior Court judge has given the city of Eureka the green light to condemn the Budget Motel.

The motel’s owner, David Kushwaha, had asked the court to intervene and stop the city’s forced eviction of his tenants, which was initially scheduled to happen this morning, due to substandard conditions and more than 340 code violations. Through his attorney, Kushwaha asked the court to give him 45 days to address the violations, which include bedbug and cockroach infestations, hazardous wiring, inadequate plumbing and heating fixtures and a host of other things.

But Judge Dale Reinholtsen found Kushwaha had little chance of ultimately winning the case and that the alleged violations are “hazardous and pose an imminent threat to occupants of the motel and the surrounding community.”

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Restraining Order Blocks Budget Motel Evictions

Posted By on Wed, Sep 21, 2016 at 4:23 PM

THADEUS GREENSON
  • Thadeus Greenson
The city of Eureka’s efforts to shutter the Budget Motel on Fourth Street have been put on hold.

This afternoon Bradford Floyd, a local attorney representing the Budget Motel’s owner, David Kushwaha, received a temporary restraining order to halt the city’s plans to clear the property tomorrow. On the heels of a recent code inspection that turned up 341 violations, the city served Kushwaha and his tenants on Monday with notice that it would enforce a notice to vacate the property at 8 a.m. tomorrow.

Eureka Chief Building Official Brian Gerving, who’s also serving as acting city manager while Greg Sparks is on vacation, said the city feels the property poses an immediate threat to the health and safety of its residents, first responders and the general public. Specifically, Gerving said widespread bedbug and cockroach infestations, open and unpermitted electrical wiring, rot and mold render the place unfit for habitation. Additionally, Gerving said, inspectors noted missing plumbing fixtures — like toilets and sinks — in some rooms and unrepaired fire damage in others.

This afternoon, the Journal contacted Kushwaha in the office of the Budget Motel and he declined to comment, other than a brief statement: “We got a restraining order against the city. We are not going anywhere.”

The case is set for a hearing at 8:45 a.m., at which point a judge may determine whether the city can follow through with its plans to clear each of the hotel’s 44 rooms, board them up and fence off the property.


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