Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Crime in Eureka

Posted By on Wed, Jul 30, 2014 at 4:09 PM

The Eureka Police Department is releasing quarterly crime reports of data and trends in order to, as an EPD news release says, "drive a greater awareness of crime and demonstrate [the department's] desire to work with the community."

Here's the latest data:

GRAPH COURTESY THE EUREKA POLICE DEPARTMENT
  • Graph courtesy the Eureka Police Department
Some of the trends noted by the EPD, between January 2013 and June 2014, include a slight downward trend overall in property crime and also a "steady downward trend" in violent crime.
GRAPH COURTESY THE EUREKA POLICE DEPARTMENT
  • Graph courtesy the Eureka Police Department
GRAPH COURTESY THE EUREKA POLICE DEPARTMENT
  • Graph courtesy the Eureka Police Department
GRAPH COURTESY THE EUREKA POLICE DEPARTMENT
  • Graph courtesy the Eureka Police Department
There's much more crime analysis on the department's website.
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Monday, July 28, 2014

UPDATED Highway 96 Open, Fire Almost Out

Posted By on Mon, Jul 28, 2014 at 12:26 PM

SECOND UPDATE: Six Rivers National Forest reports that the Sugar Bowl Fire should be 100 percent contained by 6 p.m. this evening, July 28, and fully controlled by 6 p.m. July 29 The road is now open with no restrictions, although motorists "should be aware of potential hazards of rocks or debris rolling down from the steep embankment on to the roadway and adjust their speed accordingly," says a news release.

The terrain — steep, rocky and thick with brush — has made fighting the blaze challenging, and there's been one minor injury, says the release.

UPDATE: Still some flames this evening, and there's a very, very long wait for pilot-controlled passage along the semi-closed section of 96:

The fire this evening. - PHOTO BY KEN MALCOMSON
  • Photo by Ken Malcomson
  • The fire this evening.
pilot.jpg
pilot3.jpg

About a mile section of State Route 96 is stilled closed between Willow Creek and Hoopa as fire crews work to contain a blaze. 

PHOTO BY KEN MALCOMSON
  • Photo by Ken Malcomson
According to Six Rivers National Forest, the fire was reported around 3:50 a.m. today and by 8 a.m. was thought to be around 30 acres. But Six Rivers spokesperson Peggi Lawrence reports this afternoon that new information places the fire’s size at around 10 acres. It’s burning in steep, brushy, rocky and forested terrain along S.R. 96 about 7 1/2 miles from the highway’s junction with S.R. 299 in Willow Creek. The fire, roughly in the shape of an arrowhead, says Lawrence, is just above Sugar Bowl Ranch (yes, owned by the Arkley family), but has not threatened any structures.

“The base of it is along Highway 96 and there are rocks and debris rolling down the hill, so it’s a safety hazard,” Lawrence says. “The top of the fire is about 1,200 feet up, and the road is at about 800 feet."

So it’s a very short, steep stretch.

The fire is about 75 percent contained, she says. Caltrans is hoping to open the road to pilot-car traffic around 4 this afternoon, but it's possible the road won't be open until Saturday afternoon.

Travelers, and residents who live beyond the closed stretch out in Hoopa, Orleans and beyond, are opting in the meantime for a dusty, washboarded, skinny long-way-around — Bair Road — to get where they need to go, report folks in the area.

Lawrence says five crews, five engines, 3 water tenders, one large helicopter and one air attack plane are on the scene. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

PHOTO BY KEN MALCOMSON
  • Photo by Ken Malcomson
PHOTO BY KEN MALCOMSON
  • Photo by Ken Malcomson
PHOTO BY KEN MALCOMSON
  • Photo by Ken Malcomson
Location of fire above Sugar Bowl Ranch on S.R. 96. - MAP COURTESY SIX RIVERS NATIONAL FOREST
  • Map courtesy Six Rivers National Forest
  • Location of fire above Sugar Bowl Ranch on S.R. 96.

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Operation Yurok Wraps With No Arrests

Posted By on Mon, Jul 28, 2014 at 11:13 AM

Yurok Tribal Seal.
  • Yurok Tribal Seal.
A three-day law enforcement sweep of marijuana grow sites on Yurok Tribal lands last week yielded 13,000 plants, 300 pounds, seven guns, zero arrests and a very short press release. The Sheriff's Office identified suspects and will seek arrest warrants, according to a press release: 

From 07-21-2014 to 07-24-2014, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office joined the Bureau of Indian Affairs, California Department of Justice, California Fish and Wildlife Service, Marin County Sheriff’s Office, Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office, Yurok Police Department and Eureka Police Department in eradicating marijuana grows on Yurok Tribal Land and adjacent properties. The 35 officers served twenty Humboldt County Superior Court Search Warrants and nine Tribal Court search warrants during the four days. A total of 12,898 marijuana plants, over 300 pounds of processed marijuana and seven firearms were seized. Officers located extensive environmental damage at several search warrant locations, along with California Fish and Wildlife violations. No arrests were made, however several suspects have been identified and arrest warrants will be requested.


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Sunday, July 27, 2014

More Sparkle Than Eureka Can Handle

Posted By on Sun, Jul 27, 2014 at 10:54 AM

PHOTO BY HEIDI WALTERS
  • Photo by Heidi Walters
One of the biggest gem, bead and jewelry shows in the country ended up in little old Eureka this weekend. But at closing time Saturday inside Franceschi Hall at Redwood Acres Fairgrounds, Gem Faire vendors were feeling the fizzle. As some began to drape cloth over their wares — colorful skeins of bright and sparkly beads, humongous crystals and mineral specimens, piles of beading and jewelry-making tools and machinery, gold and silver and more — others still watched the last, lingering lookiloos attentively, hoping they might actually cough up some cash. 
PHOTO BY HEIDI WALTERS
  • Photo by Heidi Walters
One vendor, talking to another, said her booth was written up in the paper. "Right here," she said, opening some newsprint and pointing. "And this is today's paper, so, maybe they'll come tomorrow." She sighed, and added disgustedly, "But nobody reads newspapers anymore, huh?"
PHOTO BY HEIDI WALTERS
  • Photo by Heidi Walters
Over at Afghan Gem Jewelry, vendor Aman khan Zadran, from Sacramento, likewise had a dismal look on his face. The people who make the beads he sells work long and hard over them, he said; they were high quality. His table sagged under piles of deep, shiny blue lapiz, including one massive polished hunk, and thick, luscious hanks of beads in muted earth tones — greens, rusts, bright oranges, golds and pale blues, including some true jade and turquoise.
Aman khan Zadran, of Afghan Gem Jewelry, at the Gem Faire in Eureka Saturday. - PHOTO BY HEIDI WALTERS
  • Photo by Heidi Walters
  • Aman khan Zadran, of Afghan Gem Jewelry, at the Gem Faire in Eureka Saturday.
"This is the company's first time here," he said about Gem Faire, which does almost 50 shows a year according to the website. Eureka was added to the list of show locations this year. "It's really bad."

Oh, plenty of people had come to the show and wandered around touching everything. But nobody was buying, he said. Some shows, other places, he could make more than $50,000 in one day, he said. Here? Pfft.

"It's a small town," he said, shaking his head.
PHOTO BY HEIDI WALTERS
  • Photo by Heidi Walters
The show continues today from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
PHOTO BY HEIDI WALTERS
  • Photo by Heidi Walters

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Friday, July 25, 2014

The Search For Jeff Joseph

Posted By on Fri, Jul 25, 2014 at 5:06 PM

jeffrey_joseph_missing_poster.jpg
LA Weekly has a story this week about a family's search for their missing relative, Jeffrey Keith Joseph, an "L.A. man on probation for running a rogue pot shop in Venice." Relatives fear Joseph might have disappeared on a trip to Hoopa, judging by calls made on his cell phone, including the last one placed on June 21 that phone records show pinged off a Hoopa-area tower.

The story details Joseph's tangles with the law, and it shares a Humboldt County Sheriff's spokesperson's spooky descriptions of some of Humboldt's more sketchy landscapes. It says his sister thought her brother was heading to a "farm" in Humboldt, and quotes her worries about that prospect:

"There's lawlessness up there. People get killed. There's so many missing people up there. They just vanish. ... Regardless of whether or not he was doing something wrong, we don't want Jeff to look bad. He might be dead. He didn't deserve to be murdered ... I don't have much hope that Jeff is alive. That's my own gut instinct as a sister."

Joseph's family has created a Facebook page, Jeff Joseph Missing.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Fairest of Them All

Posted By on Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 10:18 AM

humboldt_gold_state_fair_2014.jpg
Indeed, there was never any doubt, but this is just to say Humboldt County took the gold medal again (won last year, too) at the California State Fair 2014 for its booth promoting Humboldt goodness. The booth, a creation of the Humboldt County Convention & Visitors Bureau and Humboldt Made, featured products made in Humboldt set in a "historic general store" setting, says the news release from the visitors bureau.

So we can expect yet more wholesome hordes storming our gates for some of that homemade milk, ice cream, cheese, sauce, vodka, noodles, wine and more.

Here's the news release:


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Humboldt County wins gold at state fair

July 23, 2014

SACRAMENTO, CA – The official Humboldt County display received a gold medal at the 2014 California State Fair, currently underway in Sacramento, the second year in a row it has earned such honors in the popular counties exhibition.

The booth, put together by the Humboldt County Convention & Visitors Bureau with assistance from the Humboldt Made business cooperative, showcases a variety of agricultural and related products from the region.

“Given how great our local food, wine and beer products are, I’m not surprised that the judges rewarded us with the gold,” said Tony Smithers, executive director of the Humboldt County Convention & Visitors Bureau, which coordinates the booth each year on behalf of the county.

The prize-winning exhibit, which resembles a historic general store, complete with tasteful displays of local products and an old-time bean counter showing their logos, reflects the theme this year for the counties exhibition, From Our County To Your Table.

“Humboldt makes such a wide variety of products so it was an easy theme for us,” said Dianne Oneto, who with colleague John Queirolo designed the booth for the bureau.

She noted that more than 12,000 of the popular Redwood Coast Map & Guide, the official travel publication of the county, which the bureau produces each spring, had already been given out at the booth as of this week.

Humboldt Made, which does marketing and development for many local products, rallied many of their members to supply the booth with everything from coffee to cheese to beer to bagels.

Kathleen Moxon, executive director of Humboldt Made, thinks the benefits of the exposure will go far beyond the fair. These local products are “ambassadors for our county,” she said. “It’s great that many of these patrons will recognize Humboldt on grocery stores shelves, wherever they may live, after seeing the exhibit.”

Don Banducci, a Humboldt Made board member, was quite pleased with the honor too. “The gold medal recognition for our display is a perfect reflection of what we like to call Humboldt’s ‘rural sophistication.’”

Besides sharing products, the exhibit serves as chance to market the county as a place to visit, Smithers said. Some 800,000 people are expected to visit this year, including many people from outside the state and country.

“When they see our travel guides, with pictures of giant trees, pristine beaches and Victorian masterpieces, they find that the greatest product from Humboldt County is Humboldt itself,” he said.

Visitors to the Sacramento area this week can still enjoy the exhibit and fair, which includes a kids park, carnival rides, live music, a petting zoo, and countless exhibitions showcasing everything from flowers to tractors to livestock to technology. The 17-day event, a California tradition for more than 150 years, runs until Sunday, July 27th at the CalExpo Fairgrounds. For ticket and fair information, visit: www.CaStateFair.org.

Humboldt County Convention & Visitors Bureau
A non-profit organization that markets Humboldt County's natural beauty, arts and history as a vacation destination, the bureau represent agencies, businesses and individuals with an interest in our region’s success as a tourist destination. Among its objectives are to increase overnight stays and visitor spending, support jobs and contribute to the local economy. More at www.Redwoods.info.

Humboldt Made
A public benefit corporation focused on business development and cooperative marketing, Humboldt Made is a community of makers and producers. It partners with retailers and restaurateurs, community organizations, media makers institutions, special events and business service providers to build the economy of Humboldt County. More at www.HumboldtMade.com.
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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Alderpoint Homicide Suspect Caught Following Second Shooting

Posted By on Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 10:48 AM

Rancho Sequoia homicide suspect Matthew Aaron Brown was captured by the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office this morning after another apparent fatal shooting Monday night.

According to a sheriff’s office press release, residents of the area were looking for Brown when one of them was shot. When deputies arrived on scene, one man was found dead in the roadway. The sheriff’s office is searching the property where the latest shooting occurred. The victim's name hasn't been released yet.

Read previous coverage of the shooting Friday night that killed an Alderpoint resident.

Here’s the sheriff’s office press release:

On 07-21-2014, at approximately 9:49 p.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from a resident in the Rancho Sequoia area of Humboldt County who reported there had been a shooting and someone was shot. Two Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Deputies were in the Rancho Sequoia area at the time, looking for murder suspect Matthew Aaron Brown, 30 years old, who was wanted for the 07-18-2014 shooting homicide of Neil Decker, age 49. The deputies heard several shots at the same time the citizen reported the shots, and were on scene within minutes. The deputies were informed by the citizen that murder suspect Matthew Brown was in the area where the shots had been fired. The deputies were also informed that local residents had gone looking for Brown, and that one of the residents was believed to be shot and had major injuries. Medical personnel were called to the scene, along with additional law enforcement from the California Highway Patrol and Fortuna Police department. Medical personnel staged in the area awaiting law enforcement personnel to secure the scene for their safety.

The deputies located a deceased person in the roadway. Due to an armed murder suspect being in the area, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team was called to the scene.

The SWAT team arrived at approximately 5:00 a.m., 07-22-2014, and located murder suspect Matthew Arron Brown at approximately 6:00 a.m. Brown was arrested and is currently en route to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office. Humboldt County Sheriff’s Detectives are being assisted by Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office Investigators, Eureka Police Detectives and California Department of Justice.

A Humboldt County Superior Court Search Warrant has been obtained and investigators have begun searching the property. The area is still an active crime scene and it is unknown if there are any other victims.

Additional information will be released as it becomes available; investigators are still in the process of determining what happened. This is the fourth homicide in the Rancho Sequoia area in the last 24 months.

Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.
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Monday, July 21, 2014

Homicide Suspect, Victim Identified

Posted By on Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 1:05 PM

Matthew Aaron Brown
  • Matthew Aaron Brown
The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office has identified the victim in a homicide Friday night as 49-year-old Neil Eugene Decker, of Alderpoint, and suspect his killer was 30-year-old Matthew Aaron Brown, who remains on the loose and should be considered armed and dangerous.

Deputies responded to a call shortly before 11 p.m. Friday to the Alderpoint area to find Decker suffering from a gunshot wound to the chest. He died while waiting for a a helicopter that was coming to take him to the hospital.

The sheriff's office reports that this is the third homicide in the Rancho Sequoia area of Alderpoint, an area infamously dubbed "murder mountain," in the last two years.

Brown was last seen riding a green motorcycle and the sheriff's office asks that anyone with information about his whereabouts call 445-7251 or the department's crime tip line at 268-2539. If someone sees Decker, the sheriff's office urges not to approach the man and to instead call 911.

See the full press release from the sheriff's office below for more details:

UPDATE

The victim in the homicide has been identified as Neil Eugene Decker age 49 from Alderpoint. The suspect has been identified as Matthew Aaron Brown age 30. Brown is described as a white, male adult, 5’-11” in height, weight 200 pounds, with a shaved head and blue eyes.

The homicide occurred in the 2000 block of Rancho Sequoia near Alderpoint. The victim and suspect were acquainted with each other. They got into a verbal argument over personal property on Friday night before the shooting. Shortly after the argument the suspect shot the victim in the chest with a shotgun. The suspect then fled the area on a green motorcycle.

The Sheriff’s Office has issued an alert to other local law enforcement agencies to arrest Brown for homicide. The Sheriff’s Office considers Brown to be armed and dangerous. The Sheriff’s Office is advising the public is they see Matthew Brown to call 9-1-1 and do not approach him.

This homicide is the third homicide in the Rancho Sequoia area of Alderpoint in the last 24 months.

Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Tip line at 707-268-2539.

ORIGINAL RELEASE

On 07/18/2014 at approximately 10:51 PM, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a call regarding a male subject in his fifties that was shot in the chest. The shooting occurred in the Alderpoint area of Southern Humboldt. Deputies responded with assistance from the California Highway Patrol and the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office. Medical personnel arrived on scene and began life saving efforts. The victim was transported to a landing zone to be flown out by helicopter. The victim succumbed to his injury prior to being transported by helicopter.

The whereabouts of the suspect involved in the shooting is unknown at this time. This incident is currently being investigated by Detectives with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and personnel from the Department of Justice.

Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at
707-268-2539.
Mike Downey
Sheriff

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West End Road Fire Kills One

Posted By on Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 11:57 AM

A home on West End Road burns on July 20. - AMY LONG, ARCATA FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT.
  • Amy Long, Arcata Fire Protection District.
  • A home on West End Road burns on July 20.
An 86-year-old man died in a house fire on West End Road Sunday morning.

Jack Wilson, who lived at the home on the 9000 block of West End Road, died in the fire, Coroner Dave Parris confirmed today. The coroner’s office suspects Wilson died of accidental smoke inhalation, and Parris said the Arcata Fire Protection District is still determining the cause. “It’s definitely non-criminal,” Parris said.

Firefighters from the Arcata Fire Protection District responded to a call just before noon Sunday and found heavy smoke and fire at the home.

The first responding firefighters entered the home to search for occupants, but “due to heavy smoke and fire the search team was forced out of the building,” according to a press release. They continued to fight the fire from outside the home, and about “45 minutes to an hour the fire was knocked down and the fire crews resumed their search for the resident, who they were sadly unable to rescue.”

Battalion Chief Dave White said, “We had issues with knocking down the fire due to lack of water, there are no hydrants in this area and we had to shuttle water tenders from other agencies.”
A home on West End Road burns on July 20. - AMY LONG, ARCATA FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT.
  • Amy Long, Arcata Fire Protection District.
  • A home on West End Road burns on July 20.

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Tax Delinquent Arkley Properties Paid Off in Eleventh Hour

Posted By on Sun, Jul 20, 2014 at 9:24 AM

Republican Headquarters Building, Fifth Street. - GOOGLE MAPS
  • Google Maps
  • Republican Headquarters Building, Fifth Street.
If you’ve trained your eye not skip over those black and white legal notices in the back of the Journal like we have, you may have noticed a big long list of tax-delinquent properties that ran in June. Nearly 200 property owners around the county had failed, in the last five years, to pay property taxes, and the county treasurer — as he is legally required to do — was noticing them that if the amount owed wasn’t paid, at least in part, the county would invoke its power to auction off the properties.

Among those were eight properties belonging to Rob Arkley-held companies. They included tracts of vacant land on the edge of the bay near Manila and the Arcata Slough owned by CUE E IV, industrial properties at either end of First Street in Eureka owned by CUE V, and the Republican Headquarters building owned by Security National Offices LLC on Fifth Street across from the Humboldt Smokehouse.

Combined, the companies owed $51,519.67 in unpaid property taxes, and were primed to be sold if they weren’t paid by June 30 deadline. Security National has had financial issues for several years, laying off nearly 50 employees in 2011, with one of its subsidiaries declaring bankruptcy later that year, and pulling roots for Lousiana last year. 

According to Teena Spellenberg, an administrative services officer in the Humboldt County Treasurer’s department, all eight Arkely-owned properties were redeemed, meaning the back taxes were paid in full or a payment plan was initiated.

As long as a property owner pays 20 percent of the owed taxes upfront and agrees to a five-year payment plan, the county will not consider sale of the property. Some of the owed taxes on the Arkley properties were paid in full, and installment plans were made for others. At very minimum, $12,915 was paid by June 30 in order to prevent the properties from going to auction.

Properties that remained in default past the June 30 deadline will proceed to auction, Spellenberg said. It takes about 120 days for the department to take the legally required steps and select which properties it will sell. The auction is performed online by a contractor, and will be noticed again before it takes place.
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