Monday, June 30, 2014

Coroner IDs 26-year-old Killed in 101 Crash

Posted By on Mon, Jun 30, 2014 at 3:32 PM

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The Humboldt County Coroner’s Office has identified the Arcata woman killed in a rollover crash north of Redcrest Saturday as 26-year-old Camille Louise Rand.

The crash occurred at about 8:30 p.m. when Jonathan Rosales, 35, of Bayside, was driving his 2005 Dodge Ram pickup southbound on U.S. Highway 101, lost control of the truck, causing it to roll multiple times before leaving the roadway, travelling down an embankment and coming to rest against a small grove of trees, according to a California Highway Patrol press release.

Rand was ejected from the vehicle and sustained fatal injuries. Rosales was transported to Redwood Memorial Hospital with major injuries and later flow to Santa Rosa for further treatment. His current condition is unknown. A second passenger, Russell Jay Green, 34, of Eureka, was treated and released at a local hospital, according to CHP.

No one in the vehicle was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash, according to CHP, and drugs and/or alcohol are believed to have been a factor. CHP is pursuing charges of driving under the influence causing injury against Rosales, according to a press release.

See the full California Highway Patrol press release below:

On 6/28/2014, at approximately 2035 hours, Jonathan S. Rosales age 35, of Bayside, CA, was driving his 2004 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup southbound on US-101, north of Redcrest, CA. Also within the vehicle were a female passenger, age 26 (name withheld) of Arcata, CA, and a male passenger, Russell Jay Green, age 34, of Eureka, CA.

As the vehicle traveled south, Rosales allowed it to travel into the northbound lanes of US-101. The pickup was then allowed to travel onto the northbound shoulder. Once on the shoulder, Rosales attempted to return the Dodge back onto the roadway. The pickup went back out into the #1 lane of northbound US-101. Rosales then lost control of the pickup and it slide across the northbound #1 and #2 traffic lanes. Before leaving the roadway, the vehicle overturned multiple times as it continued to travel across the dirt shoulder of the northbound lanes. The vehicle came to rest against a group of trees located to the east of the roadway and down a short embankment. The female passenger of the vehicle was ejected during the collision.

The female passenger received fatal injuries as a result of this collision. Green was transported to the Redwood Memorial Hospital with a complaint of pain and later released. Rosales was transported to the Redwood Memorial Hospital with major injuries, and later life flighted to Santa Rosa.

The driver and both passengers were not wearing seatbelts during the collision.

Drugs and/or alcohol appear to be a factor in this collision. Rosales is being charged with suspicious of driving under the influence and causing injury and/or death to another.

The CHP would like to stress the importance of having a designated sober driver and to always wear your seatbelt, to help prevent tragedies such as this.   

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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Updated. Our Miss California Contender

Posted By on Sat, Jun 28, 2014 at 11:28 AM

Kathryn Faull - PHOTO COURTESY KATHRYN FAULL FOR MISS CALIFORNIA FACEBOOK PAGE
  • Photo courtesy Kathryn Faull for Miss California Facebook page
  • Kathryn Faull

Tonight, at the William Saroyan Theatre in toasty downtown Fresno, the winner of this year's Miss California pageant will be crowned after a buoyant Broadway-themed spectacular. And among the 54 contending young women is one of our own: Humboldt State University kinesiology student Kathryn Faull, Miss Central California Regional 2014. If she wins, she competes in the Miss America contest in September.

Faull's actually a Stockton native, but she's at HSU now. And while — hold on, now, all you pageant haters, let me finish. And while (judging by her Facebook page), Faull seems as bubbly, girly and polished as any self-respecting pageant lover could hope, she's no flibbertigibbet. In fact, it's doubtful anyone too flighty could rise this high in the contest. They're competing for higher education scholarships, for one, and that's what drew in Faull, according to a quote in The Fresno Bee:

"'As a child, I swore that I would never be a pageant girl,' Faull said. 'However, when I knew I would be attending Humboldt State, I knew I needed scholarships.'"

Each contestant has to raise money, in part for those scholarships. Last year, according to the Miss America Organization, it and its state and local organizations gave out $45 million in cash and scholarships, "making it the world’s largest single source of scholarships for women." Within that, the Miss California scholarship stash is the largest.

The contestants also raise money for the Children's Miracle Networks hospitals and the winner commits to spending time hanging out with those hospitalized kids. And, contestants have to demonstrate a specific talent and survive tough-question interviews — Faull, on her Facebook page, said she strutted her stuff (tap dancing) and that she aced one on-stage question in particular: "It was in regards to the Affordable Care Act and I know just how I feel about it!" (She doesn't elucidate.)

Sure, the women also must shine in a bathing suit and evening gown, but those get-ups simply show off how serious they are about fitness. We're talking role models, here. Certainly personality counts, but it's not quite like the early days of the Miss America Pageant — to which all regional and state contests lead — when the women donned bathing suits and talked pretty so that a bunch of East Coast newspapermen could boost their papers' circulations (according to missamerica.org).

Ahem. Well, that's something.
UPDATE: And the winner is: Miss Yosemite Valley Marina Inserra.
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Friday, June 27, 2014

Pulp Mill Cleanup Continues

Posted By on Fri, Jun 27, 2014 at 4:11 PM

Trucks have hauled about half of the pulping liquors besieging the grounds of the Samoa Pulp Mill away, and the crawl of tankers continues steadily up to Longview, Washington, where the liquors are being refined and reused by a mill.

Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District CEOJack Crider said the process has been smooth except for a three-week period where the boiler at the destination mill underwent repairs. That shutdown had a silver lining though, as workers on the Samoa site were able to go home for a while. “A lot of those folks had been on property there for four months,” Crider said. “There’s somewhere between a dozen and 20 people. Add that along with the truck drivers we’re actually creating a little bit of an economic boom.”

The Harbor District is working to lease a portion of the property to Coast Seafoods, which will have a footprint on the property similar to Taylor Shellfish, which will also produce oysters at the former pulp mill site.

A pellet manufacturer has also agreed to lease space at the mill, and Crider said another promising business is in talks as well, though he couldn’t identify the business because of a non-disclosure agreement.

As things hum along, Crider said the Environmental Protection Agency is continuing its investigation into Evergreen, the company that abandoned the mill in 2008.

The Harbor District, in agreeing to take the mill site, assumed responsibility of hauling the liquors off site. The costs of the other cleanup, Crider said, should fall to Evergreen. “We feel very strongly that they are the responsible party.”
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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Huffman Down!

Posted By on Thu, Jun 26, 2014 at 10:00 AM

We imagine Huffman's spill looked something like this.
  • We imagine Huffman's spill looked something like this.
North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman separated his shoulder Wednesday while, in his words, “trying to be 25 years old.”

More specifically, the congressman was practicing with his fellow Democrats for the 53rd annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game when he dove for a ball and came crashing down on the hard infield dirt, according to a report on the capitol blog Heard on the Hill. The injury left the Democrats’ squad without its starting shortstop Wednesday night but, undaunted, the donkeys beat their Republican counterparts 15-6 — a squeaker compared to last year’s 22-0 romp — to push their streak to six games.
Huffman
  • Huffman

Huffman, who dons a Humboldt State University jersey for the annual partisan ballgame, sounded like he wasn’t letting the injury get him down when talking to Heard on the Hill. “I am going to enjoy being a lightly medicated spectator and cheering for my time,” he said. “And I’m confident that we’re going to be very strong.” That confidence proved warranted, as Republican starting pitcher Marlin Stutzman walked the first three batters he faced and hit the fourth. The Democrats never looked back.

The Huff’s bum shoulder will likely keep him from throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at the Humboldt Crabs’ July 1 game, as he was slated to do, but is not expected to impact the other tours, meetings and visits he has planned in Humboldt County next week.
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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

UPDATE: Bass Wins 4th, Kerrigan Mum on Future

Posted By on Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 6:09 PM

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Virginia Bass has won the 4th District, according to post-election results released today by the Humboldt County Elections Office.

The vote tally, which includes ballots turned into the elections office and polling places on Election Day, saw Bass take 2,822 of the vote (52.05 percent), compared to Kerrigan’s 2,587.

The Southern Humboldt Unified School District bond measure failed to get the necessary 55 percent to pass.

Previously:

The 4th District supervisor race is all but decided as less than 1,000 remaining uncounted ballots leave challenger Chris Kerrigan very unlikely to catch up to incumbent Virginia Bass.

In total, 845 ballots from the district remain uncounted. Kerrigan, who received 55 percent of the election day votes, would need 68 percent of the remaining uncounted votes to overtake Bass. That’s a steep hill to climb, which he acknowledged on the phone this morning: “It’s going to be very difficult to overcome a 300-vote difference," he said. "I think it's unlikely that we could pull ahead.”

He hasn’t conceded the race to Bass. “At this point it’s just a matter of waiting for [the elections office] to finalize the count.”

And Kerrigan's still not talking about a potential run for Eureka Mayor. He filed paperwork to raise money for that office before rescinding it and running for supervisor. “I’m certainly looking forward to a number of potential possibilities,” he said. “I haven’t made any final decisions. I feel likely that I will run again at some point for public office. I can’t say that it’ll be as soon as November.”

A school bond measure in the Southern Humboldt Unified School District, following election night results, trailed with 51 percent of voters in favor of the measure. The measure needs 55 percent voter approval to pass. There remain 510 uncounted ballots in that race.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this post failed to mention that the bond measure needs 55 percent approval to pass.
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Army Corps Halts Bypass Work

Posted By on Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 2:26 PM

If you’ve driven though Willits lately, you’ve noticed the tan swaths of fill swooping through pasture along the east side of U.S. 101 and the spindly wooden forms revealing the future configuration of the Willits Bypass.

Yes, the project’s substantially underway. And yet it continues to be riddled with problems. Most recently, the Army Corps of Engineers suspended its permit to Caltrans for construction of the bypass, saying in a notice dated June 20 that Caltrans has failed to follow the mitigation and monitoring plan agreed upon in February 2012, despite repeated urging by the Corps in emails and in-person visits over the past two years.

The plan details how Caltrans will protect wetlands and other waters in the project area, or mitigate for their loss. Caltrans also is required to submit mitigation and monitoring plans to state agencies, and in fact on June 13 the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board approved one of them.

The Corps says Caltrans is behind schedule in implementing mitigations for impacts to wetlands already occurring; hasn’t set up a mechanism to pay for ongoing mitigation and monitoring; and hasn’t updated the mitigation plan to reflect changes in scheduling.

Among the mitigations that was supposed to have begun is rehabilitation of some 345 acres of off-site ranchland and restoration of another roughly 70 acres of wetland and streams, all to compensate for some 65 acres of wetland impacted directly by the bypass. 

Caltrans spokesman Phil Frisbie said Tuesday that while Caltrans has been updating the Corps about changes in the schedule through emails and in person, it has not formally updated the mitigation plan itself. He said Caltrans plans to meet with the Army Corps this afternoon to find out exactly what the Corps wants. In the meantime, he says, Caltrans can, with permission from the Corps, continue to work on areas of the project where wetlands won’t be further impacted.

The suspension is conditional upon Caltrans meeting the Corps’ demands. 

You can read previous Journal coverage here. And here is a copy of the suspension notice:




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Monday, June 23, 2014

Willow Creek Hit-and-Run Victim Identified

Posted By on Mon, Jun 23, 2014 at 11:43 AM


The pedestrian killed in a hit-and-run collision in Willow Creek on Saturday has been identified as 22-year-old Manuel Alejandro Garcia.

Humboldt County Deputy Coroner Roy Horton said Garcia appeared to have been walking on the shoulder of the westbound lane of State Route 299, where it makes a sweeping left-hand turn in front of Buddy’s Auto Center, when he was hit. Horton said Garcia lived close by, with his mother and brother, and appears to have been out walking his dog.

“I found a dog leash and chain at the scene,” Horton said, adding that the dog returned to Garcia’s home after the accident, which occurred at about 10 p.m. Saturday.

The California Highway Patrol responded to a call reporting the accident and found Garcia dead, but the driver had fled the scene. A short time later, officers found a car believed to have been involved in the accident parked behind Ray’s Market in Willow Creek. With the help of a dog from the Arcata Police Department, officers spent four hours searching the scene but were unable to locate the driver.

California Highway Patrol officer Michael Berry said officers used the vehicle’s registration information to track down its suspected driver, Daniel Roy Jones, 36, of Arcata, who was arrested at his home without incident at about 11:30 Sunday morning and booked into jail on suspicion of driving under the influence, hit and run, manslaughter and delaying or obstructing an officer.

Horton said Garcia was found without any identification, appearing to have just left the house to take his dog for a quick walk, and was logged as a John Doe. Sunday morning, Horton said Garcia’s mother approached a CHP information booth at Redwood Acres Fair and spoke with an officer, saying her son hadn’t come home Saturday night and she was worried about him. The officer then notified Horton. “That’s how we identified him,” Horton said, adding that Garcia’s family was crushed by the news. “They’re just beside themselves.”

Horton said Garcia appears to have died of blunt force trauma, but said a full autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday, at which point a forensic pathologist will conduct a toxicology test and compare Garcia’s injuries to the damage found on Jones’ vehicle. Meanwhile, the CHP investigation is ongoing and the agency asks that anyone with information about the collision call 268-2000.
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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Call For Info On Humboldt Marten

Posted By on Sat, Jun 21, 2014 at 10:22 AM

Humboldt marten - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE
  • Photo courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Humboldt marten

Have some informed thoughts on what to do about that fluffy, shy, seldom-seen, sharp-toothed critter the Humboldt marten? Perhaps a genetic study you’ve been hoarding, waiting for the right time to haul it out?

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife says now’s the time to share. It’s opened a 45-day scoping session to gather yet more information on the marten, as part of its ongoing effort to at, as a news release says, “determine whether or not the marten populations in coastal northern California and coastal Oregon (described in the notice as the coastal DPS of Pacific marten) should receive Endangered Species Act protections.”

This process began in 2010 when environmental groups petitioned the agency to list the Humboldt marten under the federal Endangered Species Act. In 2012 the groups sued the agency to hurry up.

The agency seeks specific information, including (according to the notice of the scoping session) on the animal’s habitat requirements, genetics and taxonomy, and so forth. More on that here.

After the scoping session ends, a 12-month finding will begin. For details, including where to send your information, go to www.fws.gov/arcata.

Continue reading »

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Friday, June 20, 2014

State Launches Insurance Investigation

Posted By on Fri, Jun 20, 2014 at 10:23 AM

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Regulators have launched an investigation into whether Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of California violated state law by misleading consumers with inaccurate provider lists, the Los Angeles Times is reporting this morning.

The California Department of Managed Care has begun a review looking into provider access issues with the two insurance giants' plans offered under Covered California, the state insurance exchange set up under the Affordable Care Act. "Our preliminary investigation gave us good cause to believe there are violations of the law," agency spokeswoman Marta Green told the Times.

According to the report, the department is expected to wrap its investigation within 60 days after which the companies will have 45 days to respond to its findings.

The Journal covered issues with Anthem Blue Cross' flawed in-network provider lists in Humboldt County in our June 12 cover story, "Bait and Switch," and followed up with a guest views piece in the June 19 edition, "The Insurance Leech," in which local physician Emily Dalton shares her frustrations. The full Los Angeles Times story can be found here.
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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Care Home Operator Appeals Suspension

Posted By on Thu, Jun 19, 2014 at 5:26 PM

The operator of Chamberlain’s Residential Care Facility in Eureka is appealing the state's decision to shut the home down last month and issue a temporary suspension of her license. The suspension will be permanent if the order prevails in court.

The state’s order alleged that operator Gina Chamberlain violated numerous health and safety codes, including instances (specifically detailed in the order) of stealing money, property and narcotics from her clients. The state’s complaint asked that she be prohibited “for the remainder of [her] life” from having anything to do with a state-licensed care facility.

Chamberlain’s appeal denies all of the suspension order’s allegations, calling them variously “constitutionally infirm due to a lack of certainty,” “uncertain,” “unclear” and adding that they “lack the specificity required to place her on notice to a degree that she is able to defend herself against said allegations.”

Her appeal also says she wasn't served the accusation properly.

Suzi Fregeau, with the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program for Humboldt and Del Norte counties, says she was "extremely surprised" Chamberlain appealed the decision, considering "all the evidence that was collected before the temporary suspension order was even issued — a year’s worth of evidence."

There is one technical curiosity we’re trying to sort out: The suspension order, effective May 8, was filed May 5 by the Community Care Licensing Division of the California Department of Social Services. But Chamberlain’s appeal is dated April 16.

Michael Weston, spokesman for the Community Care Licensing Division, says he doesn't know how the appeal happens to be dated several weeks before the suspension order was filed. Fregeau doesn't know either.

David Crane, Chamberlain’s attorney, has not responded to the Journal’s request for an interview.

A pre-hearing conference and a settlement conference are scheduled for Aug. 1 in Oakland. The hearing before an administrative law judge is scheduled for Sept. 8-11, starting at 9:30 a.m. each day, at the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center in Eureka. 

UPDATE: Weston has sent an email clarifying the dates: The Department of Social Services, he says, originally sought revocation of Chamberlain's license to run a care home on April 9. Chamberlain appealed April 16. And on May 5 the department "took additional action to suspend the license immediately."

"Since the appeal had already been filed it was not necessary to file a second appeal," says Weston.
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