Friday, November 9, 2012

Two Killed, UPS Big Rig Burned in Fiery Collision

Posted By on Fri, Nov 9, 2012 at 10:40 AM


Two people were killed and a UPS truck loaded with packages bound for the coast erupted in flames early yesterday morning when a Honda sedan collided with the two-trailer big rig in Redding.

According to the Record Searchlight, the United Parcel Service truck was making a left turn across traffic from northbound State Route 273 onto Buenaventura Blvd. when a two-door Honda sedan, speeding southbound on 273, collided with the side of the truck.

Both the truck and the car immediately burst into flames, according to Redding Police Sgt. Casey Bokavich

The Honda's driver and passenger -- Jeffrey Courtroul, 23, and Thomas Pimentel, 24, both of Redding -- died from massive blunt force injuries, a Shasta County Coroner's investigator told the R-S

The report continues:

Redding Police officer Justin Duval helped the UPS driver, John Abraham, 57, out of the truck as his lower half was still on fire, Bokavich said. They were able to put out the flames engulfing Abraham, he said.

The driver reportedly suffered second-degree burns and was treated and released at a nearby hospital. Some of the packages in one of the two trailers were reportedly salvaged. The rest were destroyed.

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Who's Gonna Step Up And Ship 20 lbs. of Arcata Pizza and Deli Fries to Afghanistan?

Posted By on Fri, Nov 9, 2012 at 8:57 AM


Well, this was a nice email to wake up to:


Distribution of your weekly publication has reached
all the way to Helmand Province, Afghanistan. I
enjoyed the special "Best of Humboldt" edition and
look forward to getting some of those APD fries when
I get home soon. Keep up the great work. My father
sent me the issue in a care package. His name is Dr
Wendell Schautz of Eureka Chiropractic Office.
Nothing in the picture is confidential. Share as you

Max Schautz

Thank you, Max.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Election Results on Newsstands Now!

Posted By on Wed, Nov 7, 2012 at 12:18 PM


We went to parties; we talked to candidates; we clicked "refresh" on the county elections website about a hundred times; and we worked through the night to cram all of the late-breaking election results into this week's print edition of the Journal, now on newstands.

Track down a copy and you can read all about how Prop. 30's passage will affect local schools. Discover what Arcata's grow-house tax -- plus full-on legalization in Colorado and Washington -- might mean for our county's No. 1 cash crop. Find out what Linda Atkins said when she jumped in the air last night. Peruse charts, graphs and numbers for local, state and national results. We'll even tell you what the folks pictured above were looking at when this picture was snapped.

It's a virtual binder full of election coverage!

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Still Awake? The Final Local Election Report is In ... Atkins holds on (for now), Ferndale mayor race LITERALLY TIED

Posted By on Wed, Nov 7, 2012 at 1:45 AM


Above: HumDemHQ at the moment MSNBC projected Barack Obama's reelection. Click to enlarge.

This is it, polito-junkies. Late night snack. This is all the elections office is releasing tonight. Note: There will be a few provisional ballot numbers released later in the week.

Eureka City Council Race:

LINDA ATKINS - 3,935, 50.75%

JOE BONINO - 3,727, 48.07%


Eureka City Council Race:

MELINDA CIARABELLINI (unopposed) - 5,607, 96.47%


Ferndale Mayor Race:

KEN WELLER - 287, 48.15%

STU TITUS - 287, 48.15%


Ferndale City Council Race (choose 2):

KEN MIERZWA - 343, 43.09%

DANIEL BROWN - 319, 40.08%

LINO MOGNI - 55, 6.91%


Arcata City Council Everyone-gets-a-trophy-day Race (choose 3):

SUSAN ORNELAS - 3,780, 34.24%

MICHAEL WINKLER - 3,627, 32.86%

SHANE BRINTON - 3,250, 29.44%


Blue Lake City Council (see above) Race (choose 3):

GREG SAWATZKY - 308, 35.40%


LANA MANZANITA - 261, 30.00%


Fortuna City Council Race (choose 2):

DOUGLAS STREHL - 2,675, 47.17%

TAMI GILLAM-TRENT - 1,817, 32.04%

JOSHUA M. BROWN - 1,141, 20.12%


Rio Dell City Council Race (choose 2):

FRANK WILSON - 563, 49.91%

JACK THOMPSON - 520, 46.10%


Trinidad City Council Race (choose 2):

JULIE FULKERSON - 116, 53.46%

MARIA BAUMAN - 91, 41.94%

So, ya. Now, zzzzzzzzzzzzz...

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Friday, November 2, 2012

Goodbye Halloween, Hello Hospital

Posted By on Fri, Nov 2, 2012 at 3:58 PM

A severed ear, a broken jaw and a broken nose for the civilians, along with a cut lip for a cop, were among the injuries Arcata police counted up during this year's Halloween ... uh ... can it be called a celebration?

The Plaza was packed, even with its core cordoned off and officers on hand from seven law enforcement agencies. Vandalism, police said, was reduced.

The press release is here:

The Arcata Police Department along with officers from the Eureka Police Department, Fortuna Police Department, Ferndale Police Department, Rio Dell Police Department, HSU Police Department, and California Highway Patrol patrolled the Arcata Plaza on Halloween due to past incidents of unruly behavior.

Halloween saw a couple thousand people in the downtown area once again.While officers were successful in keeping the Plaza from being vandilized, some people in the crowd turned violent.

While arresting a female subject who had been involved in a physical fight, officers became surrounded. Several objects were thrown at the officers from the crowd. An APD sergeant was struck in the face with a bottle. He sustained a large laceration to his upper lip and had to be transported to Mad River Hospital where he received several stitches. The crowd continued to be unruly and several more arrests were made throughout the night.

During the evening officers located a male subject with an AR-15 assault rifle slung around his neck. The firearm had an unusable unloaded magazine in the weapon. He also had a loaded operable 10 round magazine in his pocket. The weapon was taken for public safety reasons.

During the evening there were 9-Public intoxication arrests,and numerous medical aid calls which consisted of a broken nose, broken jaw, severed ear (which were sustianed during physical altercations in the downtown area) and other alcohol related issues. There were approximately 101 calls for service during the night.

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Arcata Main Street Executive Director Busted for Grow Op

Posted By on Fri, Nov 2, 2012 at 3:56 PM

Press release from the Humboldt County Drug Task Force:

On 11-02-2012 at about 1000 hours the Humboldt County Drug Task Force served a search warrant at a residence located in the 2600 block of Manzanita Avenue, Eureka. No one was at home when the search warrant was served.

Agents located a commercial marijuana growing operation in the garage, which is attached to the residence. Agents seized 267 growing marijuana plants that ranged in size from 3 foot to 4 foot in height. Agents seized $ 3,700 dollars in cash from inside of the residence.

When Agents were at the residence they noticed a possible electrical fire hazard with the indoor marijuana cultivation that was occurring in the garage. Agents contacted Humboldt County Building and Planning Department, who then responded to the scene. After inspecting the electrical wiring associated with the indoor marijuana growing operation, Humboldt County Building and Planning Department determined there was a possible fire hazard. Humboldt County Building and Planning Department then contacted PG&E to have the electrical power turned off to the residence.

In searching the residence Agents learned that Jennifer Brook Koopman age 38 lives in the residence along with her 7-year-old daughter. Agents learned that Koopman was at work in Arcata. Agents then responded to Arcata and located Koopman at her place of work. Koopman was placed under arrest for cultivation and possession for sales of marijuana, for maintaining a residence for manufacturing of a controlled substance. Koopman was also arrested for child endangerment because of the electrical fire hazard associated with the indoor marijuana growing operation.


Koopman's 7-year old daughter was placed into custody of a local relative. Humboldt County Child Welfare Services was contacted and will investigate the living conditions of the child.

This case is still under investigation by the Humboldt County Drug Task Force.

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Goodbye, John, and Hello

Posted By on Fri, Nov 2, 2012 at 2:50 PM


The light in John Tutuska recognized the light in so many Old Town denizens, and several dogs, over the past 20-plus years, they overflowed Clarke Street Plaza midmorning today as they gathered to bid him farewell. Tutuska, who was 67, died Oct. 14.


He was that sunbaked, handsome, peacefulness-spreading fellow who often could be found sitting or standing against the bright white wall of the Clarke Museum on the corner of E and Third streets. Sunlight was the best way, he said, to spark that light within. He was the man who handed out buttons saying "The Light in Me Recognizes the Light in You." His apartment was the one above the bookstore across the street from the museum that had the large, handwritten sign in the window that said, simply, "Forgive." He often was alone, but other times one or two or three people would be next to him, quietly talking or just meditating.

At least 140 people came to Tutuska's memorial -- coffee slingers, office workers, shoppers, government workers, shopkeeps, poets, musicians, merchants, sidewalk witnesses, members of his "A Course in Miracles" group and more. Someone burned sage, another set up a table filled with spiritual writings and CDs by various artists.

The table also held piles of what appeared to be Tutuska's calling card with Church of the Eternal Now. It has a photo of Tutuska on it (a photo taken by the Journal) and a number to call "for all the answers, or to contact John Tutuska." The number, alas, conjures a recording that says, "Refinance your mortgage and save" and offers a 900 number to call. (The card also suggests meditation for all of the answers or talking to John, so, that might be the better course right now.)

Many who spoke at his memorial noted how he "was a devoted student" of "A Course in Miracles," that he shared its ideas with everyone, and that he exuded a love that seemed specific to each person he met. One woman said he was especially fond of one of the course's teachings that says there is no death.

"We come from spirit and we will return to spirit," she said.

A few spoke of his more earthly life -- boxer, wonderful cook, Giants fan. But most remembered him as being, as one woman put it, "the spiritual anchor to Old Town."

An older man, pointing up through the canopy of trees into the cloudy bright sky, said "There, there is the light." Tutsuka, he said, was all around, still here.

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Vote Could Shape Future of SoHum Health Care

Posted By on Fri, Nov 2, 2012 at 2:38 PM

The little hospital and clinic that provide basic care in Southern Humboldt could soon get a new board of directors, in a vote that's in part a referendum on the controversial hospital director.

The Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District has been through a bankruptcy and bouts of heavy turnover, and now is in a heated election for three of the five seats on its board.

Although his name doesn't appear on the ballot, the race revolves in large part around Harry Jasper, the health care district's combined CEO/CFA, now in his third year on the job.

The current board is broadly supportive of Jasper, but that the tight relationship may not last. Three of the six candidates for the district's three open seats have criticized his performance.

"He's good at finances, but he has terrible people skills," says Judi Gonzales, who's running for a two-year seat left open by the April resignation of board member Mary Krissie Branzei. Gonzales, long an outspoken critic of Jasper, points to the dozens of longtime hospital employees who were laid off or who resigned since Jasper's arrival in 2009, and to falling numbers of patient visits.

Even his critics, Gonzales included, say that Jasper has turned the health care district's finances around. After going through bankruptcy in the early 2000s, the district spent most of the last decade struggling to stay above water, even after the passage of a parcel tax to prop it up.

One of the biggest problems has been that a large share of the district's patients are low income, and pay for care with help from Medicare and Medical. That makes it difficult for the district to recoup the costs of running its emergency room. To stay fiscally health, Jasper and others have said, the district must keep track of every penny spent caring for those patients.

While previous administrators struggled to get paid in full, Jasper, trained in both finances and health care administration, has had success at tracking and getting paid for patient-care expenses. Revenue is up, and although it remains dependent on the parcel tax, the hospital is in the black for the first time in years.

That's earned Jasper the admiration of his employers on the current board of directors.

"Harry is - so far what I've experienced - very professional, very thorough with what he's doing in regards to maintaining the [district's] fiscal health," says Clif Anderson, the interim board member who holds the seat vacated by Branzei. Anderson took the seat in July, and says that while he wasn't aware of Jasper's relationship with the district's lower-level employees, he sat in on one department head meeting and liked what he saw. "I was very impressed at how well they work together," he says. "I was impressed with his leadership abilities."

His critics say, though, that the apparent cohesion is only because Jasper has removed everyone who didn't agree with him. Although turnover has always been high in the health care district, it almost doubled in the first two years after Jasper's arrival, with many longtime employees among those leaving.

"The thing that disturbs me most is the employee turnover," says candidate Karen Ruth. She says as a board member, she would like to contact former employees and find out why they left.

Personnel matters should be left to the chief executive, says Corrine Stromstad, an incumbent board member running for reelection. (The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors appointed Stromstad to the health care district board in 2010. She previously had ran against and received fewer votes than Judi Gonzales. In a July interview, 2nd District Supervisor Clif Clendenen said he couldn't recall exactly why the board chose Stromstad over Gonzales.)

"The only employee we [the board] have is Harry," Stromstad says, and he has done wonders for the district's financial health. As to why any particular person left or was fired, she says, "I really didn't get involved in the how-come or what-for."

"Oh, he is the only employee? Wow, what a concept," says candidate Beth Bennett-Allen, referring to Stromstad's comment. "No, they don't have one employee and I think that may be at the base of the problem. There are many, many people there that are to be considered and protected."

Candidate David Ordonez could not be reached for comment.


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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Local Students Vote For Obama

Posted By on Thu, Nov 1, 2012 at 3:28 PM

More than a thousand students from a dozen Humboldt County schools participated in a statewide student mock election, and the local voters of tomorrow preferred President Barack Obama to Republican challenger Mitt Romney by a landslide. Obama earned 58.1 percent of the vote (673 of 1,159) among participating students from local elementary, middle and high schools. Romney, by comparison, garnered just 20.2 percent of the vote.

(The only local school to prefer Romney was Ferndale Elementary.)

Statewide the results leaned even farther left: Obama 69.3 percent, Romney 23.5 percent.

A press release from the Secretary of State's Office describes the mock election as "a hands-on civic engagement project that helps cultivate the voters of tomorrow." Teachers were given resources and materials to make Election Day a "teachable moment," the release states.

What and who else did local students vote for?

Dianne Feinstein, for one. The incumbent U.S. Senator earned 61.2 percent of the vote, with Republican challenger Elizabeth Emken getting the other 38.8 percent. Statewide it was Feinstein 65.6 percent, Emken 34.4 percent.

We also tallied local students' votes on a few ballot propositions and compared them with the statewide results. Likely the most significant ones for the students personally are propositions 30 and 38, the dueling tax-increase measures aimed at boosting education funding. Humboldt students liked them both but preferred 30, with 74.7 percent voting "yes" compared to Prop. 38's 61.5 percent approval. 

Statewide results were similar, with both measures passing but Prop. 30 faring better. It earned 65.3 percent support compared to Prop. 38's 55.9 percent.

On the issue of labeling genetically engineered food, local students were all about it. More than 70 percent mock-voted in favor of Prop 37. Statewide the measure earned 63.6 percent support, which is better than recent polling suggests it will do among adults.

How about the death penalty, you ask? Just over half of the local students (53.6 percent) voted not to repeal it. Statewide the issue was a real squeaker, with 49.84 percent supporting a ban on the death penalty and 50.16 voting to keep it in place.

The complete, school-by-school results for the county can be viewed here.

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