Friday, August 19, 2016

Registration Deadlines Loom for Marijuana Farmers

Posted By on Fri, Aug 19, 2016 at 2:24 PM

FILE
  • File
Humboldt County marijuana farmer's train to legitimacy is preparing to leave the station.

There are a couple of deadlines looming for marijuana growers throughout the county who want to go legit. Most imminently, Tuesday is the last day for people or businesses to register existing medical cannabis cultivation sites with the county. This is a necessary step for those wanting to be deemed in “good standing” under California’s new Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, a designation that will make folks eligible for “priority processing” for a state license when they come available.

Now to be fully eligible for the “good standing” designation, operations must be fully permitted and reviewed by the Humboldt County sheriff, the district attorney, the agricultural commissioner and the division of environmental health. But the first step down that road is registration, and the deadline to get the three-page registration packets to Planning and Building is the close of business Tuesday (packets can also be sent electronically or postmarked by the end of the day on Aug. 23).

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UPDATED: Bay Billboards No More

Posted By on Fri, Aug 19, 2016 at 10:16 AM

billboard.jpg

UPDATE:
The Humboldt County Association of Governments just issued a press release noting that removal of the 10 billboards won’t just be good for scenery enthusiasts, but also for the Humboldt Bay Trail and the Safety Corridor Improvement Project. See the press release copied below, along with a billboard map.

PREVIOUSLY:
Motorists on the Safety Corridor will soon have a clear view of the bay.

Caltrans announced this morning that it has reached an agreement with Outfront Media, formerly known as CBS Outdoor, to remove the 10 billboards the company owns along U.S. Highway 101 between Eureka and Arcata. The billboards are slated to come down by the end of the year, according to Caltrans, which would bring an end to years of wrangling that, at one time, saw a billboard bandit take matters into his or her own hands by sawing down several of the signs.

See the full release from Caltrans copied below:

BILLBOARDS TO BE REMOVED ALONG U.S. HIGHWAY 101
BETWEEN EUREKA AND ARCATA
 
EUREKA – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has come to an agreement with OUTFRONT Media (formerly CBS Outdoor) to remove ten billboards along U.S. Highway 101 between Eureka and Arcata by the end of the year.
 
The negotiations were initiated as part of the development and eventual permitting of the Eureka-Arcata Corridor Improvement project.  More information about this project is available at www.dot.ca.gov/dist1/d1projects/eureka_arcata/.
From HCAOG:
billboard-graphic_web.jpg
The Humboldt County Association of Governments (HCAOG) is pleased to learn that the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has reached an agreement with OUTFRONT Media (formerly CBS Outdoor) to remove ten billboards along U.S. Highway 101 between Eureka and Arcata by the end of the year. Removal of these billboards will help Caltrans meet one of the California Coastal Commission’s conditions for permitting the Eureka-Arcata Route 101 Corridor Improvement Project. The Eureka-Arcata Route 101 Corridor Improvement Project is a safety project to reduce collisions at intersections on Route 101 and has been a regional priority for over ten years. The Coastal Commission,
in its Consistency Certification, required removing billboards in the Coastal Zone, to the maximum extent feasible, to mitigate the proposed project’s visual impacts at Indianola Cutoff. Some of the billboards to be removed are located on publicly owned land, without permission of the underlying landowner.

This agreement will also benefit the Humboldt Bay Trail, as some of the billboards subject to this agreement conflict with the location of the proposed trail. The Humboldt Bay Trail is an active transportation and “complete streets” project to build a safe, multi-use path for pedestrians and bicyclists, ADA accessible, and separated from cars and trucks. The City of Arcata plans to begin constructing the northern segment of the Humboldt Bay Trail in 2017. The County of Humboldt has initiated the engineering and permitting phase for the southern segment; there is as yet no funding secured for the construction phase.

The Eureka-Arcata Route 101 Corridor Improvement Project also remains in the engineering and permitting phase. Construction funding has been authorized by the California Transportation Commission, but construction will likely not begin for at least three to four years.

The Humboldt Bay Trail is being collaboratively developed by HCAOG, County of Humboldt, City of Arcata, City of Eureka, Caltrans, State Coastal Conservancy, North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA), and a variety of other agencies and organizations. For more information on trails, see the “State of the Trails Report: Expanding Regional and Local Trail in Humboldt County” (June 2016) at hcaog.net.

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Sheriff Launches SoHum Homicide Probes

Posted By on Thu, Aug 18, 2016 at 4:29 PM

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The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office has launched a homicide investigation after deputies found a 52-year-old woman dead of a gunshot wound in a Redway home.

Details are scant, but the sheriff’s office was called at 9:40 a.m. Wednesday to a call of a possible suicide in the 100 block of Redway Drive. But when a deputy and deputy coroner arrived on scene, the coroner determined the death was not a suicide and a homicide probe was launched. The victim’s name is being withheld pending notification of her family.

The sheriff’s office is asking anyone with information about the death to call detective Jen Turner at 268-3642 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip Line at 268-2539.

Meanwhile, the Humboldt County Coroner’s Office has ruled the death of Hugh Duggins in early January was the result of “asphyxia by neck compression” and was a homicide. Duggins’ body was found by someone walking their dog along Alderpoint Road, between Dyerville Loop and Bell Springs roads in Southern Humboldt, on Jan. 12 and appeared to have been there for a day or two. But Deputy Coroner Trevor Enright said it’s unlikely the killing happened at that location.

“Given what we know now, it’s probably a body dump situation,” Enright said.

Between he Redway death, the determination that Duggins’ death was a homicide and a McKinleyville standoff that ended in a shootout that left a 59-year-old suspect dead Wednesday, Humboldt County has recorded nine homicides thus far in 2016, including four shooting deaths. According to the Humboldt County Coroner’s Office, the county recorded 16 homicides in each of 2014 and 2015, with 23 of the 32 caused by gunshot wounds.

See the full sheriff’s office press release copied below:

On Wednesday, August 17, 2016 at about 9:40 a.m. Humboldt County Deputy Sheriffs responded to the 100 block of Redway Drive in Redway for a report of a deceased subject. It was initially reported to law enforcement as a possible suicide. A Deputy and Coroner arrived on scene and observed a deceased female with what appeared to be a gunshot wound lying down. The Coroner determined the death was not a suicide. Detectives arrived on scene and are investigating this incident as a homicide.
The female decedent was approximately 52 years old. The Sheriff’s Office will release her name once next of kin has been notified.
Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case is encouraged to call Detective Jen Turner at (707) 268-3642 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.

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Election Council Seat Roundup

Posted By on Thu, Aug 18, 2016 at 1:13 PM

Election season is officially upon us. - FILE
  • FILE
  • Election season is officially upon us.
With the dust settled after Wednesday’s filing deadline, local city council races have solidified.

There was some movement — with one Eureka candidate, Allen McCloskey, bowing out due to health reasons and someone stepping in to take his place on the ballot — at the 11th hour, and it seems most cities will have at least one contested race on their ballots come November.

Here’s the rundown:

Trinidad has two candidates running unopposed for two seats: incumbent Jack West and Humboldt State University Director of Admissions Steve Ladwig.

Arcata has five candidates vying for three open seats: incumbents Michael Winkler, Susan Ornelas and Paul Pitino, along with challengers Daniel Murphy, a local chef, and Valerie Rose-Campbell, a playgroup facilitator for the city.

Eureka will see Eureka Faith Center co-pastor Heidi Messner running unopposed for the city’s 2nd Ward seat, while local accountant John Fullerton and St. Joseph Hospital employee Austin Allison will square off on the race to represent the city’s 4th Ward.

Blue Lake has one qualified candidate for three open seats on the city's council: Adelene L. Jones – an incumbent who is listed as a retired educator on her ballot designation. City Clerk April Sousa said the council will be deciding how to move forward at its next meeting.

Fortuna will see two candidates — former Councilmember Dean Glaser and local business owner Tami Trent — running unopposed for its two open council seats.

Ferndale will see a pair of contested races. Vying for an open council seat are incumbent Daniel Brown and challenger Patrick O’Rourke, who lists his occupation as educator. For the mayor’s chair, incumbent Don Hindley will see a challenge from Steve Nunes, who is retired.

Rio Dell has three candidates going after two open council seats, with challengers Bryan K. Richter, a contractor, and Susan Strahan, a local business owner, taking on incumbent Frank Wilson, an electrician.
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4th UPDATE: Suspect I.D.'d in McKinleyville Standoff

Posted By on Thu, Aug 18, 2016 at 10:57 AM

Sheriff Mike Downey recounts the events of the standoff  at a press conference. - LINDA STANSBERRY
  • Linda Stansberry
  • Sheriff Mike Downey recounts the events of the standoff at a press conference.
David Alan Fulton, 59, had a history of mental health issues and a collection of BB guns, according to friends who showed up to check on him during yesterday's standoff at an apartment complex on Sutter Road in McKinleyville. The friends, according to Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Downey, had no idea that it was Fulton who was barricaded in his apartment and shooting at police cars with a real rifle.

The standoff began as a dispute between Fulton and his landlord, according to Downey's statements at this morning's press conference. After the landlord towed Fulton's car, he allegedly began shooting at the manager's office in the center of the apartment complex. The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office responded to the scene at around 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 17. According to Downey, several rounds of active gunfire hit their patrol cars, leaving a total of three bullet holes. The sheriff's office issued a reverse 911 call advising residents of the complex to stay in place, and maintained a perimeter around the scene. Multiple law enforcement agencies showed up to support sheriff's office personnel, including the Arcata, Fortuna and Eureka police departments, the California Highway Patrol, the drug task force, Cal Fire, and 10 rangers with the National Park Service, who were en route to a training at the time of the incident. The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office also donated personnel and equipment, with Sheriff Tom Allman personally escorting a Lenco Bearcat, an armored personnel carrier, to the scene. The Bearcat was later used to extricate around a dozen people from the complex.


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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

3rd UPDATE: Suspect Killed in McKinleyville Standoff

Posted By on Wed, Aug 17, 2016 at 11:19 AM

An officer guards the police line at the scene of a standoff in McKinleyville on Wednesday. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • An officer guards the police line at the scene of a standoff in McKinleyville on Wednesday.
3rd UPDATE:
Multiple news agencies are reporting that the suspect in an armed Mckinleyville standoff that started yesterday morning and continued into the night was killed at about 2:30 a.m. in a shootout with police.

According to the reports, an unidentified woman fled the suspect’s apartment, after which he set several fires inside the apartment before he exited and began firing on SWAT team members staged nearby. Police returned fire and the suspect was shot and killed.

2nd UPDATE:
Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Downey just briefed reporters near the scene of the standoff in McKinleyville, saying crisis negotiators have been in communication with the suspect over the past hour and things are going in a “positive” direction.

Downey said investigators have confirmed that the barricaded, armed suspect has a “significant other,” but have so far been unable to determine her whereabouts or whether she is in the apartment with him. The sheriff also said that while his department initially contacted the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office to request use of its Bearcat armored personnel carrier, its southern neighbors also offered their SWAT team, an offer Downey accepted.

People evacuated from adjacent apartments are being debriefed by investigators before going to stay with friends and family. Downey said the local chapter of the Red Cross has also been contacted in case this turns into a incident that prevents people from returning to their homes for a prolonged period.

1st UPDATE:
At a press conference near the scene of an armed standoff in McKinleyville, Undersheriff William Honsal said officers have identified the suspect and begun to evacuate residents from neighboring apartments.

Honsal said his department won’t publicly identify the suspect, who’s approximately 55 years old, at this point. He said crisis negotiators and mental health workers have been unable to contact the suspect, who remains barricaded in his apartment. Honsal said he doesn’t believe there are any hostages involved.

Officers have began evacuating neighboring apartments, and Honsal estimated about eight people were in apartments in the same building as the suspect, with eight to 10 more in adjacent buildings. The evacuations are being carried out using a Bearcat — an armored personnel carrier that can stop riffle rounds — on loan from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office.

Honsal said the situation remains very dynamic.


PREVIOUSLY:
Law enforcement is in a standoff with an armed suspect in McKinleyville after he fired at responding deputies shortly after 9 a.m. today.

Humboldt County Undersheriff William Honsal said deputies were called to the Redwood Creek Apartments on Sutter Avenue around 9 a.m. to a shots fired report and learned that someone had fired rounds into the office manager’s apartment at the complex. When deputies set up a perimeter around the suspect’s apartment unit, Honsal said, the suspect briefly exited his apartment with a rifle and shot at the deputies, at least one of whom returned fire. The suspect then fled back into his apartment.

Honsal said nobody is known to have been injured in the exchange, but he said police were as yet unable to canvass adjacent apartments to see if anyone was hurt.

Currently, Honsal said the suspect is holed up in his apartment and law enforcement has set up a perimeter around the complex. Honsal said those living in the area are being asked to shelter in place until teams can be sent to evacuate nearby residences as necessary.

Mental health workers and crisis negotiators just arrived on scene, Honsal said, and plan to call the suspect shortly. Honsal said there “may be” other people in the suspect’s apartment, though he said he doesn’t believe it’s a hostage situation.

Officers from a variety of agencies have arrived on scene and are staging nearby.

Slideshow
McKinleyville Standoff
McKinleyville Standoff McKinleyville Standoff McKinleyville Standoff McKinleyville Standoff McKinleyville Standoff McKinleyville Standoff McKinleyville Standoff McKinleyville Standoff

McKinleyville Standoff

By Mark McKenna

Click to View 11 slides


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Crescent City Man Gets 7 Years Under Felony Murder Rule

Posted By on Wed, Aug 17, 2016 at 9:42 AM

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A 32-year-old Crescent City man was sentenced Tuesday to serve seven years in state prison stemming from a home invasion in 2013 that left his accomplice dead. But no one is arguing that Samuel Hawken actually killed Josh Sherer.

Hawken pleaded guilty last month to voluntary manslaughter and assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury, according to a press release from the Humboldt County District Attorney’s office.

Hawken and Sherer broke into a residence on the 6100 block of Walnut Drive on Dec. 1, 2013, to confront some people who lived there. Once inside, Sherer began fighting with a 46-year-old resident there, jumping on top of him and hitting him with his fists.

Sherer pepper sprayed the man and, during the fight, Hawken joined in and struck the 46-year-old several times with a baseball bat before fleeing the scene. A 47-year-old neighbor, who lived in a trailer on the property, then came to the 46-year-old’s aid, grabbing Sherer and restraining him until police arrived, according to statements from the sheriff’s office at the time.

When deputies arrived, Sherer was unconscious and not breathing. He was later pronounced dead at a local hospital. According to the district attorney’s office, an autopsy determined his cause of death to be asphyxiation.

While it’s clear Hawken didn’t physically kill Sherer, he was charged with his murder under what’s known as the felony murder rule. A legal doctrine, the felony murder rule holds that if someone is knowingly committing certain felonies — including burglary — and someone dies during the crime, that person can be charged with their murder as the death was a foreseeable result of the underlying felony.

“When a person engages in a dangerous, provocative act and a death results, he or she may be held criminally responsible even if the actual killing was at the hands of another,” Humboldt County District Attorney Maggie Fleming said in a press release.

See the full press release copied below:



NEWS RELEASE
AUGUST 16, 2016

On July 1, 2016, Samuel Hawken, 32 years old of Crescent City, pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter and to assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury and stipulated to a 7-year prison term. He was sentenced August 16, 2016.

The convictions stem from an incident on December 1, 2013, when Mr. Hawken and Josh Sherer, 32 years old of Eureka, went to a residence in Eureka to confront the people who lived there. Mr. Hawken brought a baseball bat while Mr. Sherer carried pepper spray. The two attacked the homeowners, who fought back. Mr. Hawken ran out of the home while Mr. Sherer was caught and held down until police arrived. Humboldt County Sherriff’s Deputies discovered upon their arrival that Mr. Sherer was unconscious from being held down. He was later pronounced dead; an autopsy revealed asphyxiation as the cause of death. District Attorney Maggie Fleming explained that, “When a person engages in a dangerous, provocative act and a death results, he or she may be held criminally responsible even if the actual killing was at the hands of another.”

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Monday, August 15, 2016

Life-Saving Librarian, Narcan Prevent Overdose Death

Posted By on Mon, Aug 15, 2016 at 3:37 PM

The use of Narcan appears to have prevented two Humboldt County overdose deaths in the last month. - PRESS OF AC
  • Press of AC
  • The use of Narcan appears to have prevented two Humboldt County overdose deaths in the last month.
The overdose reversal drug Narcan has saved at least two lives in Humboldt County this month.

Over the weekend, Arcata police officers revived an unconscious 29-year-old man with a nasal spray dose in the department’s first use of Narcan since officers began carrying the medication that counteracts the effects of opioids.

Earlier this month, librarian Kitty Yancheff did the same.

“I never thought I’d have to use it,” said Yancheff, the public service division manager who works at the main library in Eureka. “You never expect it to happen, but you just don’t know.”


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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Renner's New Owner: No Changes on Horizon

Posted By on Sun, Aug 14, 2016 at 5:43 PM

Renner and its 13 stations from Klamath to Piercy are coming under new ownership. - FILE
  • File
  • Renner and its 13 stations from Klamath to Piercy are coming under new ownership.
Renner Petroleum, one of Humboldt’s bright, homegrown success stories, is being sold to Stockton’s Valley Pacific Petroleum Services, Inc.

Valley Pacific President and CEO Norman Crum said he doesn’t expect the sale to have much of a local impact. “They’ve got a very nice, clean operation running,” Crum said, noting the company’s solid safety record and high morale among employees. “We don’t really want to change anything at this point. If anything, we may have some of our people from Stockton come up to Eureka to see how they’re doing things up here because Renner Petroleum has a very good way.”

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HumBug: Silver Spotted Tiger Moth Grows Up

Posted By and on Sun, Aug 14, 2016 at 3:00 AM

The early clusters of caterpillars. - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • The early clusters of caterpillars.
Finally! Early this spring, coming back from the mailbox, I noted a brown glob about the size of my fist on one of my fir trees. On closer inspection, I saw several irregular blobs which all turned out to be bunches of brown furry caterpillars, each a little over an inch long. I wondered what they might be when they grew up.
Pesky earwigs trying to get at my captives. - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • Pesky earwigs trying to get at my captives.
So the next day I selected a branch on which there were only two individuals and covered it with a jelly strainer sack, choked onto the branch with a rubber band. Over the next many weeks, I periodically moved them when they consumed all the needles on the branch tip, each time emptying the sack of shucked off skins and frass (the technical word for bug poop). I really wanted to know what they would turn into. Each time I had to make doubly certain no earwigs got into the covering. Earwigs are omnivorous and I've had problems with them in the past when I tried to do this. Several times half a dozen or so of these European invaders hid in the folds of the bag where the netting bunched up.
Pupa cocoon. - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • Pupa cocoon.
Just a week or so ago, I noticed the larvae were gone, replaced by little fuzzy ovals. Yee ha! Since they had pupated, they no longer required any food so I brought them inside and kept them in a jar out of direct sunlight. Last night I noticed one had emerged. It is a silver spotted tiger moth. I turned it loose after a couple of quick photos.
Congratulations, it's a silver spotted tiger moth. - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • Congratulations, it's a silver spotted tiger moth.
Throughout the many weeks of observation I noted the numbers in my trees decreasing in irregular spurts. I suspect many were devoured by birds. In fact, I think my two were the only ones that made it to adulthood out of perhaps hundreds.
A silver spotted tiger moth in its full-grown glory. - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • A silver spotted tiger moth in its full-grown glory.

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