Tuesday, March 31, 2015

North Coast Drownings on Record Pace

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 2:36 PM

Warnings signs are now posted at most local beaches. - NOAA
  • NOAA
  • Warnings signs are now posted at most local beaches.
Bobby Allan Root, a 20-year-old from Vicksburg, Michigan who enjoyed sketching and a good Will Ferrell movie is presumed drowned after going missing in the ocean off the North Coast on March 24.

Root had been in Humboldt County visiting some friends when, on an overcast day, he dove into the Pacific Ocean at the mouth of Redwood Creek, west of Orick, trying to save his dog, who appeared to have been swept out to sea. Root’s friends quickly lost sight of him and — after U.S. Coast Guard and Humboldt County Sheriff’s office personnel spent more than 17 hours searching the water and nearby beaches by air, land and sea — officials now presume him drowned and have shift their focus from rescue to body recovery. The dog eventually made its way back to shore and has been placed in the care of Root’s friends in the area.

Troy Nicolini, a spokesman for the National Weather Service, says the story is tragic, and one he’s seen play out way too many times over his 17 years of tracking Humboldt County’s water deaths.


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Monday, March 30, 2015

Sheriff Seeks Public Help in Death Investigation

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 2:54 PM

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The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office is asking the public for help identifying a dead man found on a rural and secluded part of the Hoopa Valley reservation.

The Hoopa Valley Tribal Police Department got a call at about 10 p.m. on March 22 from someone reporting they’d found human remains in a wooded area off Bair Road. Sheriff’s detectives recovered the remains the following day and launched an investigation.

Sheriff’s Lt. Kevin Miller said the department isn’t releasing how the still-unidentified man is believed to have died, or how long his remains may have been in the woods, for fear of compromising the ongoing investigation. “We don’t want to muddy waters by releasing too much information at this point,” he said.

But the office issued a press release this morning saying the man is believed to have been between 18 and 30 years old, and was wearing black and red Air Jordan shoes (size 12), Carhartt pants, black sweatpants with a Hoopa Warriors logo on them, a black “Cal” baseball hat and a California Republic T-shirt. Detectives also found a red, white and black beaded necklace on the dead man and foreign coins in his pants pocket.

The death is being considered suspicious, and anyone with information is asked to call sheriff’s investigator Greg Musson at 268-3643.


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Eureka Man Dies After Being Run Over by Bus

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 12:28 PM

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The Humboldt County Coroner’s Office has identified the pedestrian run over by a bus Friday morning as 35-year-old Thomas William Rice, of Eureka.

Eureka Police Capt. Steve Watson said the department’s preliminary investigation indicates that Rice was causing a disturbance at a bus stop near the intersection of Fifth and O streets at about 11:30 a.m. on Friday. Rice was banging on the doors of the Redwood Transit Authority bus, Watson said, when the bus began to pull away from the curb, causing Rice to step back.

“Then, as the bus was pulling out and starting to merge into traffic, he leaned in to pound on the side of the bus,” Watson said. “He appeared to lose his balance and fell under the rear wheel of the bus as it was pulling into traffic.”

Rice was transported to St. Joseph Hospital for treatment, but was “eventually declared deceased as a result of those injuries,” according to a press release from the coroner’s office.

Watson said Rice’s potential “level of intoxication” at the time of the accident remains under investigation. He asked anyone with information about the accident to call EPD traffic officer Tim Jones at 441-4109.
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Friday, March 27, 2015

HSU Has the State's worst Faculty Tenure and Salary Numbers

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2015 at 10:53 AM

COURTESY HSU
  • Courtesy HSU
A new report released from the California Faculty Association indicates Humboldt State is among the worst schools in the California State University system when it comes to a growing salary disparity between professors and administrators.

The CSU faculty's labor union report notes several alarming trends between 2004 and 2014:

  • Humboldt State lost 25 percent of its full time, tenure track employees, more than any other CSU school. Meanwhile, the university’s full-time student enrollment went up 13 percent.

  • Humboldt State’s average salary for managers and supervisors rose by 42 percent, while the average salary for full-time faculty rose only 1 percent. The president’s salary rose by 29 percent.

  • The average inflation-adjusted salary for HSU’s full time faculty dropped by more than $14,000, the largest decline in any of the 23 CSU schools.

  • Tenure-track faculty positions have dropped by 31 percent.

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

No Silver Lining

Posted By on Thu, Mar 26, 2015 at 2:22 PM

Yeah, they're not open. - GRANT SCOTT-GOFORTH
  • Grant Scott-Goforth
  • Yeah, they're not open.
Bad news for Humboldt’s hungry jet set: Silver Lining, the restaurant located upstairs in the Eureka-Arcata airport, has closed.

Aviation Division Program Manager Emily Jacobs said when she arrived at work yesterday morning, the restaurant hadn’t opened its doors. The owners told Jacobs they simply couldn’t make it work anymore.

It’s another ding for the Aviation Division, which is in financial trouble and is seeking additional airlines, as the Journal reported in this week’s cover story. The Silver Lining’s owners paid $2,225 a month to lease the airport location.

But Jacobs says the airport is trying to get the word out to interested operators, and she’s confident the right restaurant will be successful, considering McKinleyville’s population, relative lack of restaurant variety, the associated liquor license and the glamour of the location.

“If the right restaurant came in it would do really well,” she said. “Historically it’s had a lot of customers that are just there for the restaurant and for the entertainment.” Plus, they validate parking for dining customers.


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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Stabbing Prompts Knife Sale

Posted By on Tue, Mar 24, 2015 at 4:29 PM

FACEBOOK
  • Facebook
Ever want to flex like Conan and swing a 3-foot blade? Or maybe just Ninja around with a samurai sword of your own? Perhaps you’re a hunter, who needs a good sheathable blade? If so, you’re in luck.

Schatzi’s Hidden Treasures — a locally owned shop in the Bayshore Mall that sells everything from Nag Champa and “functional glassware” to festival attire and crystals — has been asked by mall management to get rid of all its axes, swords and long blades and has consequently launched an everything-must-go, 50-percent-off sale. The request came on the heels of a pair of scary incidents at the mall in February.


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Curry Sentenced in Pot Farm Slaying

Posted By on Tue, Mar 24, 2015 at 9:58 AM

Limmie Greg Curry III
  • Limmie Greg Curry III
A Humboldt County Superior Court judge sentenced Limmie Greg Curry III, 24, to serve 12 years in prison for the 2010 killing of William “Billie” Reed on a remote property off State Route 299, east of Blue Lake.

On the eve of a second murder trial in the case, Curry pleaded guilty to a charge of voluntary manslaughter and the 12-year sentence was the maximum allowable under the law, and included a one-year firearm enhancement. But Curry has been in custody since shortly after the February 2010 killing, and consequently has only about five years remaining on his sentence to serve in state prison (with good conduct, he'll only serve 85 percent of his sentence).

Prosecutors alleged that Curry and another man, Eddie Lee, shot and killed Reed on Feb. 3, 2010 before burning and hiding his remains in an effort to take over Reed’s home, belongings and a marijuana growing operation on the property. Officials ultimately found Reed's charred skeletal remains in several burial sites on the property, including one in a garden site where Reed had allegedly grown marijuana the year previous summer. Curry and Lee were arrested shortly after the killing, but were tried separately on murder charges.


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Monday, March 23, 2015

Coroner: 30-Year-Old Eureka Man Killed in Crash

Posted By on Mon, Mar 23, 2015 at 2:15 PM

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The Humboldt County Coroner’s Office has identified the man killed in a car crash on Highway 101 in Arcata on Saturday as 30-year-old Mitchell Eldon Ford, of Eureka.

According to the California Highway Patrol, Ford was driving south at about 6:30 a.m. when, for unknown reasons, he lost control of his 1989 Chevrolet and crashed through the center divide and its guardrails, coming to rest in the northbound lanes of Highway 101. Ford escaped major injury in the crash, and was standing near his car, according to CHP, when a northbound 2000 Toyota driven by Cyrstal Marie Sanders, of Fortuna, crashed into him and his car, resulting in major injuries.

Ford was transported to Mad River Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Sanders received minor injuries in the crash, the cause of which remains under investigation.

The crash caused the closure of parts of the freeway for about four hours Saturday, as investigators processed the scene.
See the full press releases from CHP and the coroner’s office below.


Subject: Deceased Person Identified Case: 201501288

On March 21, 2015 at about 6:39 AM there was a traffic accident on US Highway 101, south of Samoa Boulevard. One person suffered injuries during the accident and was later declared deceased at Mad River Hospital.

The deceased subject has been identified as Mitchell Eldon Ford, age 30, of Eureka. The lead agency in this investigation in the California Highway Patrol. All further information will be released through their agency.

ARCATA, Calif. - On March 21, 2015, at 6:39 a.m., a solo male driver, age 30, of Eureka was driving a 1989 Chevrolet southbound on US-101, south of Samoa Boulevard, when he lost control and collided with the center divider. The Chevrolet traveled over the double center divider guardrails and came to rest in the #1 northbound lane. After the Chevrolet came to rest, the male driver exited the driver seat and was standing in close proximity to the Chevrolet.

At 6:40 a.m., 30 year old Crystal Marie Sanders of Fortuna was driving a 2000 Toyota northbound on US-101 in the #1 lane, and struck the Chevrolet / male driver. This second collision resulted in major injuries to the male driver and minor injuries to Ms. Sanders. The male driver, whose name is being withheld pending family notification, was transported by ambulance to Mad River Community Hospital where he was subsequently pronounced deceased. The causes of both collisions remain under investigation.

The California Highway Patrol - Humboldt Area responded to the scene and is conducting the investigation. Personnel from the Arcata Police Department, the Arcata Fire Protection District, the Humboldt County Sheriff's Department, Arcata-Mad River Ambulance, and the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) also responded to the scene.

As a result of this collision, various lane closures were in effect on both sides of US-101 for approximately 4 hours.

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

HumBug: Moths and Unicorns

Posted By on Sun, Mar 22, 2015 at 3:07 PM

The elusive 'western white ribboned carpet moth.' - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • The elusive 'western white ribboned carpet moth.'

Today, gazing out my window, enjoying a touch of soft melancholy, I watched the white flower petals drifting down from a plum tree. Soon they will be just trees again, not towering bouquets of pink and white. One petal broke my reverie. It fell up and to the left instead of down and to the right like all the others. I was grateful. Not just because I recognized the errant fluttering white thing out there (I did) but because its name told me to be: Mesoleuca gratulata, meaning something like “middle white gratitude inducing.” A good look at a front wing shows you why it is named Mesoleuca. The pretty gray markings are divided across the wing by a white band. To me this little moth is a sure sign of spring and always lifts my spirits, knowing I will see them for several months, almost always just out of reach.

I recognized it because for several years it was one of my “unicorn” insects — a creature seen, but seldom captured (in my case with a photo). I would see them flying up among the redwood branches 20 or 30 feet off the ground. Last summer I watched one for several minutes until it finally landed low enough for me to get my shot. A bit of work with field guides told me it was a 'western white ribboned carpet moth.' This is not the bane of my great aunt, stinking up the place with mothballs made of paradichlorobenzene and napthalene to protect her Persian rug or wool socks. Their larvae actually prefer the leaves of members of the berry vine family to which I am delighted to leave them.

The life of an entomological photographer, especially one who doesn't catch insects just to photograph them, isn't always easy.
It is almost as if some species, like this one, can detect a camera, flitting away just when you're about to immortalize them. Like any hunter I eventually realized the disappointments I suffer only make the victories sweeter. So, I am happy to share this image of a dainty little local — one of my personal unicorns — who brings a smile every time I see it.  
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Friday, March 20, 2015

Sheriff's Office, Grand Jury Butt Heads over Jail Release Transportation

Posted By on Fri, Mar 20, 2015 at 1:26 PM

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Policies at the Humboldt County jail continue to come under fire from the grand jury, which reported this week that jail staff refuses to inform prisoners being released that they have the right to ask for transportation if they were arrested farther than 25 miles from the jail.

In its report, the grand jury says the Sheriff Mike Downey believes that correctional officers are not legally required to inform prisoners of their right to transportation assistance upon release, and that the policy will not change. 

The grand jury doesn't approve:

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