Saturday, July 31, 2010

Horse-drawn Carriage Accident in Old Town

Posted By on Sat, Jul 31, 2010 at 8:14 PM


A horse-drawn carriage and its owner-operator were involved in a serious accident in Old Town Eureka tonight after the horse was reportedly spooked by skateboarders on the boardwalk. The carriage driver, Marty L'Herault, was seriously injured and transported to St. Joseph Hospital. The horse was also injured, though able to walk, according to an eyewitness.

UPDATE: Michelle L'Herault, Marty's wife, later said Cinnamon was fine.

Jonathan Speaker, of Arcata, was inside the carriage with his wife when the accident occurred. He said the horse, named Cinnamon, was pulling the carriage through the gravel parking lot near First and D streets in Eureka when the sound of skateboarders on the boardwalk panicked her, sending her off at a full gallop. She then smashed into a parked car, which the carriage side-swiped immediately afterward.

The carriage's momentum was stopped by the wood pillar pictured above, while L'Herault was evidently pulled by the horse's reins into the street. He appeared to suffer severe head trauma, judging by pictures sent in by an anonymous eyewitness. 

Good Samaritans stayed with L'Herault until paramedics arrived, according to Speaker, who added that the carriage driver was in and out of consciousness. St. Joseph Hospital could not release any information regarding his condition. A call to the Eureka Police Department has not yet been returned. Speaker said he and his wife were uninjured.


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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pro-Marina Center Forces Gear Up for Ballot Measure Fight

Posted By on Thu, Jul 29, 2010 at 2:07 PM

Chris Crawford, local conservative politico, sent out a call-to-arms yesterday afternoon, rallying people to organize in support of Measure N, the Eureka city initiative on the November ballot that would change the zoning of the long-vacant Balloon Track property adjacent to Old Town. The zoning change would be a key step forward for the big box-anchored Marina Center development that Eureka kazillionaire Rob Arkley's Security National Corp. would like to build on the site.

The first organizing meeting for the pro-N campaign, according to Crawford, is set to take place at the Arkley Center for the Performing arts on Saturday, Aug. 7.

As reported last week, Humboldt Baykeeper and the Environmental Protection Information Center have filed a lawsuit against the city of Eureka for placing the measure on the ballot. The two groups charge that the Marina Center's environmental impact report is flawed -- or at least under judicial contention -- and that therefore the city violated state law in putting the matter before voters.

Crawford's e-mail to supporters -- originally cc'd to Security National's Kyla Tripodi, among others -- is pasted below.

Sent: Wednesday, July 28, 2010 2:21 PM

To all (by blind copy) ... if this is not of interest to you, please delete and forgive the intrusion.

I am chairing the YES on Measure N campaign, which is a necessary first step to bring the Marina Center to the blighted, contaminated Balloon Track property in Eureka. We are in need of volunteers to walk precincts, phone bank and perform other campaign tasks.

Our first event is SATURDAY, Aug 7 from 10am-noon at the Arkley Performing Arts Center at 4th and G in Eureka. Refreshments will be served at 9:30am and the rest of the time is devoted to volunteer orientation to provide background about the campaign and Marina Center project.

Please help us by volunteering or passing this along to family, neighbors and friends who you think will help. This is a major turning point in our community ... this is your chance to have your voice heard and join a winning campaign. Please pass along your name, contact info and email to me and Kyla Tripodi ASAP (her email is above, so reply all).

Listed below are the many reasons I support Measure N and the Marina Center. Thanks for your consideration !!

Chris Crawford, Chair
The People for Marina Center, YES on Measure N Committee
My home phone is [REDACTED]


The Marina Center is a mixed-use retail, residential, office and light industrial development that will be located on the abandoned Union Pacific Railroad property called the Balloon Track. Located near Eureka's historic downtown, the Marina Center would provide a variety of amenities including 11 acres of restored wetlands, safe hiking & biking trails, numerous dining choices, a new location for the Children's Discovery Museum, an array of local retail stores and a revitalized waterfront.

Passing Measure N is a necessary first step in transforming this blighted property into the Marina Center. Measure N will change the land use designation - it is now zoned public which would allow a cemetery, jail or sewage plant to be placed there. If passed, the zoning would be changed to one which would allow the Marina Center development while excluding a "supercenter discount store." There are plenty of tasks ahead before this project becomes a reality, but it's a huge and necessary first step.

This is an opportunity for the silent majority who support this worthwhile project to have their voices heard !!


New Jobs -
· Over 1,200 jobs will be created
· 1,000 of these jobs will be new, not just shifted from one business to another.
· Most of these are high paying, living wage jobs

No need for future tax increases -
· Creates $2 Million in NEW tax revenues
· $1 Million of these new taxes will be added to Eureka's general fund to maintain vital public services such as police and fire protection
· Nearly $900,000 of these new taxes would boost property taxes to fund redevelopment and schools within the City

A cleaner environment -

· The Balloon Track property has been abandoned for over 30 years
· It's a contaminated urban brownfield plagued by crime and blight, which drives down property values and consumes public resources
· This property will be cleaned up, wetlands will be restored and new trails will be created for walking and biking
· It is smart growth mixed use of residential, commercial and light industrial
· It is smart growth infill of urban land to avoid suburban "sprawl"

More choices -

· For shopping, dining and entertainment
· The new, permanent home for the Discovery Museum will provide kid-friendly entertainment
· This unique new Marina Center will promote tourism and serve as a draw to nearby county residents to spend money in Eureka rather than other areas
· Residential development on the site will include affordable housing


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EPD Stings Old Town Johns

Posted By on Thu, Jul 29, 2010 at 9:53 AM

Yesterday saw the latest installment of the perennial prostitution crackdown in Old Town, according to this EPD press release.

On 7/28/10, in response to neighborhood complaints, the Eureka Police Department conducted a prostitution sting in Old Town Eureka. A female decoy was used, and the men were are arrested after agreeing to pay her to perform sexual acts upon them for money.

Arrested were:

CRINER, Arthur Thomas, age 49 of Eureka was arrested for solicitation for prostitution, driving while his driver's license was suspended, and possession of another's prescription drugs

CRUEY, Thomas, age 41, of McKinleyville was arrested for solicitation for prostitution

HERMOSILLO, Miguel, age 40, of Eureka arrested for soliciation for prostitution

WILLIAMS, Charles, age 69, of Eureka was arrested for solicitation for prostitution

The vehicles that each of the men were driving at the time they committed the crime(s) were impounded.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Humboldt's Changing Economy

Posted By on Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 3:22 PM

The latest issue of the Humboldt Economic Index offers some fascinating nuggets of information. For example, the composite index (a sketch of our overall economic health) reached a 16-month high in June. On the other hand, the report states that, "All three leading indicators [unemployment insurance claims, building permits and help wanted ads] point to a tougher future."

That future could be even tougher than those indicators, uh, indicate. Consider the following graph:


The local economy used to be driven by manufacturing whereas now, judging by this graph, retail is the tide raising our ships. Or is it? To drastically oversimplify matters, manufacturing produces money while retail spends it -- or, as a wise man once told me, "You can't make an economy just by washing each other's cars." 

Now, as anyone who has worked in retail locally can tell you, much of the money that comes in is cash -- Benjamins, quite often -- bespeckled with pocket lint and tacky with residue from the crop that earned it. There's no line on the above graph for marijuana cultivation, but you can bet it more or less parallels the retail line. And, as Hank Sims explains in this week's cover story (on newsstands now, online tomorrow), that industry's boom days are almost certainly behind us.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Falling Death at Confusion Hill Bridge

Posted By on Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 1:51 PM

A Mendocino County public school administrator recently plunged to his death from one of the terrifyingly tall bridges that form the Confusion Hill bypass, according to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

Kevin Jolly, who was just hired on as superintendent of Covelo's Round Valley School District, was 45 years old. He had been missing since last week; on Friday, his car was found parked near Confusion Hill. The P-D somewhat strangely relates third-hand intelligence to the effect that Jolly had been "sad" lately.

Before coming to Covelo, Jolly served only six months as head of the Burbank Unified School District. A July 3 editorial from the Burbank Leader hints at strife between the short-term superintendent and the faculty, while suggesting that Jolly had set high standards for that district.

The P-D notes that Jolly was the first person to die from falling off one of the two Confusion Hill bridges, which stand hundreds of feet above the Eel River and were opened to the public in 2009.

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Life in a Day

Posted By on Fri, Jul 23, 2010 at 3:22 PM

Got a Facebook note today from Mary Cruse, Humboldt County Film Commissioner (and a friend) regarding something called Life in a Day, which is taking place tomorrow. It's sort of like a video version of one of those Day in the Life books. She mentioned that she had a couple of extra camcorders so I called her, told her I'd like to borrow one, and I'll be shooting this and that on the big day -- July 24.

Here's more details via Mary:

Life in A Day is a historic global experiment to create a user-generated feature film, shot in a single day, by you. On July 24, you have 24 hours to capture a glimpse of your life on camera. The most compelling and distinctive footage will be edited into an experimental documentary film, produced by Ridley Scott and directed by Kevin Macdonald.

The film will premier at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2011 and will be available on YouTube. If your footage makes it into the finished film, you'll be credited as a c-diretor and you could be one of 20 contributors brought to Sundance to celebrate with Kevin Macdonald.

(That came from the official YouTube Life in A Day channel:

We want to have as many Humboldt, Del Norte and Trinity video uploads as possible. We would also like to use some of the footage for a montage of "A Day in the Life of Humboldt."

There are some great video suggestions by Scott, Macdonald and audio designer and editor on the YouTube site. They do NOT want the footage to be edited. If your camera can shoot 24 frames per second, that would be ideal. Quality does not have to be excellent or professional (preferably good). They are looking for compelling personal moments.

Some things going on Saturday in Humboldt: Humboldt Folklife Festival in Blue Lake, Cannabis Festival at the Bayside Grange, Dance Party at Nocturnum . . .

Check out more happenings in the Northcoast Journal calendar:

Please let me know if you are shooting some video. It would be fun to know who is shooting what. It can also be simple things like washing a dog, visiting a friend, baby time . . . moments of life.

Thanks all! Pass this information along if you know someone who might be interested: Teens, professionals, newbies shooting with camera phones . . . its all good.

Have a glorious weekend.

Mary Cruse

Humboldt Film Commission

520 E Street Eureka, CA 95501

707-444-6633 - office

Addendum: We'd love to post your vids here on the North Coast Journal blog. Please post links in the comments when you put them up on YouTube. Get out there and shoot!

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hark, Another Pulp Mill Lawsuit

Posted By on Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 6:07 PM

Just as Bob Simpson and his Freshwater Pulp partners have crept a bit closer to their pulp mill-revival dream, here comes a new whuppin', of sorts, from CATs -- the Eureka-based org helmed by toxics warrior Patty Clary -- and company. OK, it's delivered to the EPA. And it's regarding all kraft pulp mills.

From a CATs news release issued today:

Today Californians for Alternatives to Toxics and the Center for Biological Diversity officially notified the Environmental Protection Agency of their intent to sue the agency in 60 days for its failure to review and update Clean Air Act rules, called New Source Performance Standards, for kraft pulp mills. ...

The release says the EPA hasn't reviewed these pollution-emission standards for such mills in 24 years, even though the Clean Air Act requires review every eight years. Says Clary, in the release:

"Over the last 24 years technology has come a long way, but kraft pulp mills are still stuck in the '80s."

See the release, and a fact sheet, here.

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Machado Arrested on Child Porn Charges

Posted on Thu, Jul 22, 2010 at 11:28 AM

Eureka resident Cole Machado, a familiar face in Humboldt County political circles, was arrested Tuesday on child pornography charges, according to a press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office. The release states that the investigation, which resulted from a "report from a concerned citizen," is ongoing.

In 2007, Machado, 24, ran for a seat on the College of the Redwoods Board of Trustees, and has been active in any number of local political campaigns.

UPDATE: "Images were found during the initial investigation," said Brenda Godsey of the Sheriff's Office moments ago. Godsey couldn't say too much, but she did say that the images found spoke for themselves -- that they were not ambiguous, as might be the case with some pornographic images.

"It's at sort of a critical point in the case, where if we reveal too much information we can jeopardize our witness sources," Godsey added. "We felt that it was important to get the information out there to assist the investigation."

Press release follows.

EUREKA – Humboldt County Sheriff’s Detectives arrested a Eureka man Tuesday after finding him in possession of child pornography. Detectives were made aware of the case after receiving a report from a concerned citizen. After an initial investigation and developing additional information, Detectives obtained a search warrant Tuesday for the residence of Cole Jack Machado. Upon serving the warrant at Machado’s Quaker Street residence, Detectives confiscated personal computers, cell phones, and other evidence. The electronics will be analyzed by a computer forensic specialist with the District Attorney’s Office.

Detectives arrested Machado at his residence and booked him into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility for possession of child pornography. Machado posted bail and was released. He is scheduled to appear in court August 3, 2010.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information about this case should call the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office at (707) 445-7251.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Baykeeper, EPIC Sue Eureka Over Balloon Track Ballot Measure

Posted By on Wed, Jul 21, 2010 at 12:37 PM

... and the lawsuits keep coming! According to a just-issued press release Humboldt Baykeeper and the Environmental Protection Information Center have filed suit against the City of Eureka for sponsoring a ballot measure that would change the zoning of the Balloon Track -- the old railyard where Security National wants to build its Marina Center development. The two groups argue that the environmental impact report approved by the city a few months ago is flawed, and therefore any ballot measure based on that report is likewise flawed.

EUREKA - Humboldt Baykeeper, a local Humboldt Bay advocacy organization, and the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) have filed suit against the City of Eureka for failure to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) when it approved placing an initiative to change zoning on the Balloon Track, the site of the proposed Marina Center project, on November's ballot.

Under California law, government-sponsored ballot measures are subject to environmental review under CEQA. Humboldt Baykeeper and EPIC assert that the environmental review that the City conducted for this project is seriously flawed and not in compliance with the requirements of CEQA. "The hasty decision by the City of Eureka to place this issue on the November ballot without considering the potential environmental impacts is a disservice to the citizens of Eureka," said Pete Nichols, Executive Director of Humboldt Baykeeper. "The voters should know the ramifications of their decisions at the ballot box," he continued.

The ballot measure, known as Measure N, would amend the City's Local Coastal Plan (LCP) and change the zoning on the Balloon Track to a designation that would "ensure that uses at the site are restricted to development that causes no more or more intense environmental impacts than those already examined in the Marina Center Mixed Use Development Project Environmental Impact Report (EIR)." But the environmental impacts of the proposed development were never properly analyzed, so the public cannot really know what they are voting about. For example the EIR does not address the contamination on the property resulting from long years of use as a railroad maintenance yard, nor the impacts of development and contamination in the wetlands found onsite.

Scott Greacen, Executive Director of EPIC says that he questions the motives behind the Measure N ballot initiative. "It's really important that the people of Eureka understand that this ballot initiative is a cynical hijack of the mechanisms of our democracy to serve a single narrow set of financial and political interests," he said. "What's really happening here is that once again, a large corporation is using his enormous wealth and the political power it creates to pump up the value of his property and punish those he sees as political enemies," he continued.

The EIR being used by the City for the proposed ballot initiative was certified in November of 2009 and Humboldt Baykeeper and EPIC filed suit regarding its many inadequacies in December.

"This EIR was first used by the City of Eureka to approve a Coastal Development Permit for an inadequate cleanup plan for the property," Michelle Smith, staff attorney for Humboldt Baykeeper, stated. "Now they are attempting to use the same defective document for another project. CEQA is clear that the potential impacts of a proposed project must be analyzed before it is approved by agency decision-makers, and sister agencies and the public must be given the opportunity to comment on the entirety of the project. This simply has not been done here," she continued.

Nichols states that the failures of the environmental review are many and include lack of details on cleanup of the property, concerns regarding wastewater treatment, traffic impacts and compliance with the California Coastal Act. Additionally, according to Humboldt Baykeeper and EPIC, the environmental review lacks protections for biological resources at the site including threatened and endangered fish, plant, and other species.

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Eureka Approves Medical Marijuana Ordinance

Posted on Wed, Jul 21, 2010 at 11:07 AM


Medical marijuana proponents Laura Benedict, Ian Hammon-Hogan, Bob Wiener and Charles Davy outside the Eureka City Council chambers last night.

Council chambers erupted with applause when the Eureka City Council unanimously voted to approve the city's first medical marijuana ordinance last night.

The ordinance regulates land use for patients, who grow for personal use, and collectives that grow and distribute large amounts. People may grow as much pot in their home as they want, as long they have a doctor's recommendation and their grow fits in a 50-square-foot area. Collectives may grow much more than a private citizen, but the ordinance caps collectives within Eureka at four; each one will be allowed two distribution facilities.

Several changes were made to the draft after Eureka's Planning Commission voted to send the ordinance on to City Council more than a month ago. The two biggest: identification cards for patients who receive marijuana from Eureka distributors and labeling requirements for medical marijuana.

Many people spoke out against the identification cards during public comment, arguing that patients would ultimately be denied medicine because of renewal fees. The card costs $175 a year, with no renewal discount, said Laura Benedict of Humboldt Medical Supply. "Don't forget the patients," she said. "They're why we are here in the first place."

Identification cards were eliminated from the ordinance by the end of the night, but the labeling requirements were not. The labels will include the names of the patients, tracking numbers and, by 2011, proof the marijuana was was tested for safety. Safety testing was a source of contention for a few, including Benedict, who argued that testing is too expensive and costs will end up trickling down to patients.

But Bob Wiener and Ian Hammon-Hogan, of Canna Lab Collectives, eased concerns when they said they're developing a testing facility in Humboldt County that should be operational by the end of August. Testing marijuana for safety is not impossible like some say, said Wiener.

After labeling requirements were agreed on and identification cards were eliminated, Eureka had its marijuana ordinance, and Councilman Frank Jager said: "I don't agree with this, but in the spirit of cooperation, I'll go for it." 

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