North Coast Journal

NEWSBRIEFS - March 1996


The Humboldt County Sheriff's detective who led the investigation of Lonna Raye Angelel's death said he feels confident about the case against the Fieldbrook woman's estranged husband.

Larry Angelel, a physical education professor at Humboldt State University, was arrested Feb. 20 and charged with murdering his 47-year-old wife. Lonna Angelel had been missing since Dec. 17.

Detective Chris Thiel said he and a Simpson Timber Co. employee found Lonna Angelel's badly decomposed remains on Simpson property Feb. 10. Although bones were scattered and the head was not recovered, Thiel said positive identification was made from teeth and jewelry found at the scene.

Thiel confirmed reports that the body was discovered after Larry Angelel was reported to be "on the move" Feb. 10 from his Fieldbrook residence to the site, which is about two miles from his home. Thiel said Larry Angelel was a suspect early in the investigation after two search warrants turned up evidence of a crime on his property.

Lonna Angelel's truck was found in Eureka Dec. 17 with stains of human blood on it. Thiel did not discount the possibility of a second person being involved in the death. However, he said his investigation turned up no evidence of a connection between Lonna Angelel's death and the January suicide of the Angelels' son-in-law.

Although the Angelels had been separated since early 1995, Lonna Angelel continued to live in a second house on the Fieldbrook property until November. She was in the process of moving her possessions to McKinleyville when she disappeared.


Blue Lake residents will have another opportunity to voice their concerns about Ultrapower's plan to burn tires for fuel when that city's Planning Commission meets March 18.

Several hundred people turned out for the commission's Feb. 19 meeting, with the majority telling city leaders that they don't want the cogeneration plant to switch from burning 100 percent "hog fuel" to 50 percent used-tire chips. Ultrapower's management has said that the plant must cut costs to continue selling energy to Pacific Gas and Electric or it will shut down.

The plant, located in Blue Lake's industrial park, employs 25 people. At this time Ultrapower is requesting a 90-day permit to test the feasibility of tire burning as an option. The March 18 meeting will be at Blue Lake City Hall at 7:30 p.m.


The Rev. Gary Timmons now faces charges of child molestation in three Northern California counties.

The Mendocino County District Attorney's Office filed felony charges against Timmons Feb. 1 in the cases of two men who say they were sexually assaulted by the priest as teenagers in the mid-'70s. In 1994 California extended the statute of limitations for child molestation to within one year of the report.

The new law has been challenged and is under review by the state Supreme Court. If the court strikes it down, the Mendocino charges will be dismissed.

Charges against Timmons also have been filed in Sonoma and Humboldt counties, and all three of these cases fall within the old six-year statute of limitations.

Timmons had been assigned to Catholic parishes in Humboldt County several times during his career and was at St. Bernard's in Eureka when accusations against him surfaced in early 1994. He was arrested in Chicago last October.

Civil lawsuits are pending against the Catholic church, Timmons and Bob Bailey, a teacher at St. Bernard's High School in Eureka. A number of Timmons' accusers have charged that Bailey, a leader at Camp St. Michael, was aware of allegations that Timmons was molesting boys at the camp but failed to act. Bailey has declined comment on pending litigation.


Arcata City Council member Jason Kirkpatrick was arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs early on the morning of Feb. 20.

"It happened and there's not much I can say. Yes, I had a few beers," Kirkpatrick said. "I haven't heard the results of any (sobriety) tests. I'll have to wait for my court date to be sure what I'm facing."


The Feb. 18 closure of Sierra Expressway airline came as no surprise to travel agents, but the departure of United Express's only competitor for southbound flights will mean higher costs and fewer travel options for North Coast residents.

Sierra had offered round trips to Oakland for as little as $140, while United's cheapest fare to and from San Francisco costs about $200. (Horizon Air flies to Redding, Portland and Seattle.)

Travel industry folks knew Sierra was on shaky ground after the first of the year. Passengers reported sitting on nearly empty flights, and the company's billing was often inaccurate.

The final clues that Sierra would go the way of Reno Air, American Eagle and other failed North Coast carriers were sharp discounts in what turned out to be Sierra's last month: $25 flights and "friends fly free" promotions. "Generally when airlines come up with super specials it's to generate quick cash," said one travel agent.

Humboldt County hopes to recover about $19,000 in airport taxes, but Karen Suiker, Public Works deputy director, says the airline had paid its overdue landing fees about a week before its closure.


The oil patches that drifted onshore from Point Reyes to Newport, Ore., at the end of January came from an oil tanker or barge, say state officials. Analysis shows it was similar to oil found on Washington and British Columbia beaches around the same time.

It was probably discharged accidentally, but whether the crew responsible knew it had a serious leak on its hands and failed to report it will likely remain a mystery.

"By the time we found the oil, there had been a fair amount of weathering," indicating that it had been in the water so long that "the ship would have been to its destination already," said Oil Spill Prevention and Response biologist Joe Lesh.

The oil killed about 20 rare murrelets. Just a small amount of oil will mat down the bird's feathers and make them vulnerable to hypothermia, said Lesh.

A hiker near Cape Mendocino first reported oily patches washing ashore. "He called the Coast Guard on Sunday, they called me on Monday," said Lesh. Just a little faster and the shipper might have been identified from the air.

Persons who find oil or tar patties on beaches are asked to call Emergency Services at 800-852-7550.


Redway-based production company Music for Little People has been nominated for the "Best Musical Album for Children" Grammy Award. The nomination for "Papa's Dream," an album of Mexican pop and rock 'n' roll recorded by Los Lobos, was the latest in a parade of honors the company has earned since its founding in 1986.


The final act in the Louisiana-Pacific leadership drama that began last summer may have concluded last month as the company named a new general manager of its Samoa-based western division. Keith Matheney, 47, took over last month after 26 years with L-P, most recently as head of the company's Weather-Seal Division in Barberton, Ohio.


The Forest Service's Humboldt Nursery in McKinleyville will close in 1999, displacing eight full-time workers and 12 to 15 seasonal workers.

Less logging on federal lands means less need for reforestation, according to the Forest Service, which also plans to shut two other western conifer nurseries: the Wind River Nursery near Carson, Wash., and the Bend Pine Nursery near Bend, Ore.


The directors of the Ingomar Club, housed in Eureka's historic Carson Mansion, have decided that women are fit for membership after all.

Like males-only clubs across the country, the Ingomar had been under public pressure to lift the ban on female members. Changing times and the fact that the club needs new members were cited by directors in their decision.

Some members protested the board's decision, which was taken without a vote of the entire club. At press time, a petition was being circulated to force a vote. The petition was expected to be presented to the board at its Feb. 29 meeting.


Thanks to an obscure election law, the March 26 primary election for Northern Humboldt municipal judge has been cancelled. The vote to elect a successor to retiring Judge Ronald D. Rowland will be held Nov. 5, creating a winner-take-all election in which one of the five candidates could win with as little as 21 percent of the vote.

Two of the five judicial candidates objected to the move, but three others said they had no problem with it. One candidate, Joyce Hinrichs, appealed the decision of the county registrar in Superior Court. The appeal was denied Feb. 23.

In other court news, the finalists for the municipal court vacancy created by the retirement of Judge John Morrison have been named. Those attorneys are Timothy Cissna, John Feeney, Dale Reinholtsen, Jackson Morrison (no relation) and Jeanne Tunison-Campbell.

Gov. Wilson is expected to make his decision soon.


If Arabs and Israelis can sign a peace treaty, then Congressman Frank Riggs and environmentalists can at least get together for a chat. And that's what happened Thursday, Feb. 15, when about 20 forest activists met in Arcata with Riggs to discuss his forest management legislation, HR 2712.

Riggs and the activists aired gripes over the hostile words exchanged by both sides previously, but for most of the 90-minute meeting they calmly shared their views on how public and private forests ought to be managed.

They agreed on little. The activists told Riggs that privatizing Six Rivers National Forest management would derail newly crafted plans for environmentally sensitive forestry, and his bill granted too many concessions to Pacific Lumber.

The congressman promised to "look into" one concern about the timetable in which PL could gain exemptions from the Endangered Species Act. But he also made clear his basic differences with the activists: "We are philosophically far apart. I believe that if you could, you'd reduce timber harvesting to virtually nothing."

Tim McKay of the Northcoast Environmental Center responded that historically poor forest management and a timber industry that "acts like Julius Caesar" were responsible for the Northwest forests needing protection.

By the end, Riggs said he'd meet again to consider specific changes in the draft law before putting it up for hearings in Washington this spring.


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