Wednesday, May 27, 2015

UPDATE: Second Suspect Identified in Assault Homicide

Posted By on Wed, May 27, 2015 at 10:02 AM


The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office has identified Nickolas Ryan Joseph Johnson (pictured) as the second suspect in the April 28 assault and murder of David Dwane Ganfield. Johnson is considered to be armed and dangerous. Anyone with information as to Johnson’s whereabouts is encouraged to contact the Sheriff’s Office. Another person of interest, Jonas Randall Semore, was arrested May 14.

From the Sheriff's Office:

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Hoopa Tribe Just Says No

Posted By on Wed, Apr 29, 2015 at 10:56 AM

The attempt to legalize marijuana growing on Hoopa tribal lands has been defeated.

Unofficial results of yesterday’s Hoopa Valley Tribe election show the measure, which would have repealed a ban on any marijuana cultivation — medical or otherwise — that’s been in effect since 1999, failed by a wide margin (63-36).

The movement was launched when the U.S. Department of Justice announced last year that it would look the other way when it comes to marijuana grows on tribal lands. Proponents, including former Tribal Chairman Clifford Lyle Marshall Sr. and tribal member Leilani Pole (who appears to have won a seat on the tribal council, according to the same preliminary election results), argued that allowing cultivation would bring existing grows out of the shadows, improve the Hoopa Tribe’s economy and potentially help the tribe secure water rights.

A recent Times-Standard article profiled the opposition, which largely focused on the environmental damage associated with growing marijuana. That campaign, apparently, was effective.

The early election results also show that Ryan Jackson was elected as won the primary for the Hoopa Tribal chairman. He and George Byron Nelson Jr. will have a run-off for the seat in June. Pole and Marjorie Colegrove have narrow victories in their districts, and will face Wendy "Poppy" George and Gary Risling in the June election, respectively.

A photo posted to the Two Rivers Tribune Facebook page shows unofficial results of yesterday's Hoopa Valley Tribe election. - FACEBOOK
  • Facebook
  • A photo posted to the Two Rivers Tribune Facebook page shows unofficial results of yesterday's Hoopa Valley Tribe election.

NOTE: This post was updated to correct an error about the primary election.

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Monday, April 27, 2015

Woman Shot to Death in Phillipsville

Posted By on Mon, Apr 27, 2015 at 11:53 AM

A woman died following a shooting in Phillipsville on Saturday. Sheriff's deputies responded to a report of the shooting on the 400 block of Phillipsville Road around 8:30 p.m. and found 47-year-old Jessica Jane Hare, who died on the scene.

Witnesses reported that another Phillipsville resident, 59-year-old Earl C. Orr, had a gun and had been at the house with Hare just before the shooting. "After the shooting, Orr abruptly left the scene," a sheriff's office press release said.

Orr was arrested on suspicion of homicide the next morning at his home, where several firearms were seized. 

Sheriff's Lt. Wayne Hanson said the Hare and Orr knew each other, but that the incident did not appear to be a case of domestic violence. 

From the sheriff's office:

The victim in the homicide has been identified as 47 year old, Jessica Jane Hare from Phillipsville. The victim and suspect knew each other prior to the shooting. An autopsy has been scheduled for Saturday, May 02, 2015.


On 04-25-2015, at about 8:30 P.M., the Sheriff’s Office received a call from a citizen reporting there was a gunshot victim at a residence on the 400 block of Phillipsville (Loop) Rd., in Phillipsville, Ca.

Deputies responded to the scene, along with Officers from the California Highway Patrol. Deputies located the Victim, who was pronounced deceased at the scene.

After speaking with witnesses, Deputies learned the suspect, Earl C. Orr, 59, of Phillipsville, Ca., had been in possession of a firearm , and was present with the Victim just prior to the shooting. After the shooting, Orr abruptly left the scene.

On 04-26-2015, at about 7:30 A.M., Deputies served a search warrant at Orr’s residence in Phillipsville. Deputies located Orr at his residence and he was taken into custody. Deputies also seized several firearms from Orr’s residence. Orr was later taken to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility and booked for the charge of Homicide. Orr’s bail was set at $1,000,000.00.

The name of the Victim is not being released at this time.

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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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Making Eureka Purty, One Concrete Monument at a Time

Posted By on Sat, Apr 25, 2015 at 1:56 PM

  • Submitted
  • Behold.
The consultants in charge of South Eureka’s facelift unveiled the latest designs for a spruced up entry into the city.

The “preferred alternative” design, which takes into account feedback from the city and community from prior public meetings, features decorative landscaping, street trees, medians with lights and banners, and a curvy concrete monument welcoming northbound highway travelers.

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Arkley Volunteers Balloon Track for Possible Homeless Camp. Seriously.

Posted By on Fri, Apr 24, 2015 at 1:32 PM

Could the former rail yard and would-be Marina Center Balloon Track become a designated homeless encampment? - MERLE SHUSTER, COURTESY OF HUMBOLDT UNIVERSITY, SHUSTER AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH COLLECTIONL
  • Merle shuster, Courtesy of Humboldt University, Shuster Aerial Photograph Collectionl
  • Could the former rail yard and would-be Marina Center Balloon Track become a designated homeless encampment?
Rob Arkley’s Security National has offered up its Balloon Track property as a potential site for the sanctioned temporary campground for the homeless being proposed by Eureka Police Chief Andrew Mills.

The offer comes about 18 months after Arkley convened a packed community meeting to discuss homeless issues at Eureka’s Wharfinger Building, where he strongly stated his belief that the area was becoming a magnet for ne’er-do-wells looking to take advantage of local generosity, including offers of free food, clothes and housing. “We have become a Mecca for the homeless and we all pay the price,” he wrote in a letter announcing the meeting.

Security National office manager Shirley Fuller said Arkley referred Journal inquiries about the company’s offer back to the city for comment. Eureka Community Development Director Rob Holmlund said the city reached out to a number of private property owners in town when exploring potential sites for a sanctuary camping arrangement, and that Security National indicated it was interested in exploring the possibility.

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Police Play Ketchup, Replace Smashed Tomatoes

Posted By on Fri, Apr 24, 2015 at 11:46 AM

Last week’s bizarre chase through the backyards of south Arcata ended with a warrant suspect taken into custody at gunpoint. He was apparently unharmed, but there was one casualty: a tomato plant trampled in the Arcata Police Department’s takedown of the fleeing man.

Police had chased 23-year-old Drew James Bibber for nine blocks before cornering him in a residential backyard, where his arrest was documented by Instagram user cate_imal. “Shits going down in my sister’s backyard!” she wrote with an accompanying photo of at least seven officers surrounding a shirtless, cuffed man. The photo caught the attention of North Coast residents when it was featured on the Lost Coast Outpost’s Instagram-mining #HumboldtCounty feature.

Not long after, another Instagrammer, Spasian928, posted a closeup of the raised bed carnage: Snapped bamboo supports, packed dirt, mangled tomato stems.

Despite Spasian928’s high hopes for her tomatoes’ rehab, one APD officer was apparently awash with guilt over the smooshed vines. Ranger Heidi Groszmann returned the following day with a tray of fresh tomato starts, much to Spasian928’s delight:

Arcata Police Department came by this morning to drop off these Lovely tomato plants. Subsequently After yesterday's police Pursuit which ended in my backyard, on a freshly transplanted tomato. Arcata Police Department, Thank you for your Thoughtfulness and efforts in emphasizing the equal importance of Community support, accountability, "common" decency, as well as enforcing the law. Thank you. My intentions are to plant these tomatoes and share them with the surrounding neighborhood. Especially to those who's backyards were also trespassed upon ;D! Yay all around!! #arcata #apd #arcatapolice #northcoast #northencalifornia #neighborhood #chase #community #cool #accident #roma #tomatofarm #tomatoes #tomatoplant #loveyoulongtime #humboldtcounty #spreadthelove #sharingiscaring #honor #accountability #policework #poepoe #policepursuit #gifts #thoughtful #love

A photo posted by Jennifer (@spasian928) on

Here’s APD’s release on the chase:

On 4/17/2015 at about 6:00am, the Arcata Police Department was notified by the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office in Maine, that a subject wanted for an extraditable burglary warrant, Drew James Bibber (age 23), was in the Arcata area and associated with a converted yellow school bus.

At about 1:00pm, officers located the associated vehicle in the 1000 block of 5th Street and began surveillance of the area. As officers entered a business in the area to check for the warrant suspect, Bibber exited at the same time and fled from officers when his name was called.

Without shoes, the suspect led officers on an approximate nine block foot pursuit, during which time officers traversed through the Arcata Marsh, across streets with heavy traffic, through a creek and several residential backyards. Towards the end of the pursuit, the suspect managed to find an unaccompanied bicycle and fled on that as well.

Officers were able to box in Bibber, who then jumped off the bike and fled on foot into another residential backyard where he was taken into custody at gun point. The Lincoln County Sheriff's department was notified and they have begun the extradition process of Bibber back to Maine.

The Arcata Police Department would like to thank the Humboldt State University Police Department for their assistance in the capture. Additionally, a hearty thanks to the residents of Arcata who greatly assisted their police department by continuously updating officers with the location of the suspect as he fled.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

McGuire Proposes Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Bill

Posted By on Wed, Apr 22, 2015 at 10:22 AM

Mike McGuire
  • Mike McGuire
Pot’s on a lot of minds in Sacramento these days. Our own state senator, Mike McGuire, announced on 4/20 that his proposed medical marijuana bill was approved unanimously by the Senate Business and Professions Committee.

The bill would create a Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation under the state’s consumer affairs department, which would “license and regulate dispensaries, cultivation sites, transportation systems and manufacturers of all marijuana products,” according to a Press Democrat article. (It’s worth a read and you can find it here.) 

“The state would have jurisdiction over how doctors advertise medical marijuana recommendation services and quality assurance testing for edibles and other products,” the article continues. “Fees and penalties collected through the license program would go into a Medical Marijuana Regulation Fund that would support the program and its enforcement.”

The bill has some ambitious goals — banning residential grows and requiring certified organic standards by 2022 — but it has support from a couple of notable marijuana advocates. Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the Emerald Growers Association, and Dale Gieringer, director of the California branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, both told the Press Democrat they support the medical regulations, though they will likely suggest some amendments to the bill as its written.

The bill joins North Coast Assemblyman Jim Wood’s proposed law that would bring marijuana under the purview of water agencies, as well as a “flurry” of medical marijuana bills surfacing in the capital.

Meanwhile, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom hosted the first of a series of hearings aimed at creating regulations for statewide legalization in 2016. The forum, held at UCLA, heard concerns from marijuana advocates and law enforcement officials, including former District Attorney Paul Gallegos, who was there to tell the Gav about environmental problems associated with cultivation, according to the Los Angeles Times

“We need to see this problem as an opportunity to develop a regulatory scheme,” Gallegos was quoted as saying.

The 4/20 announcement from McGuire’s office:

More than 60 percent of the marijuana grown in the nation comes from counties along California’s North Coast.

As the North Coast’s State Senator, Mike McGuire has introduced comprehensive medical marijuana legislation to oversee the industry including environmental protection and water regulations, law enforcement, licensing, public health related to edibles and product testing, marketing, taxing, transporting, zoning, local control and re-sale. This bill is only focused on Medical Marijuana, not on taking a stand related to recreational use.

Senator McGuire’s legislation, SB 643 – the Medical Marijuana Public Safety and Environmental Protection Act – cleared its first hurdle on April 20 when it received approval from the Senate Business and Professions Committee.

“Since the voters of California passed Prop 215 in 1996, medical marijuana cultivation and consumption has exploded, both in California and around the country. Aside from local zoning regulations, this legal, multi-billion dollar industry is completely unregulated. With multiple propositions coming forward attempting to legalize recreational use, we need to work to create a regulatory framework now,” Senator McGuire said. “And the current drought has only made the urgency of this legislation more necessary.”

Without regulation, the North Coast is seeing entire rivers and streams run dry and watersheds polluted with sediment and poisons. Rogue operators have cut down thousands of acres of trees illegally without regard for the environment, neighboring landowners, downstream farms, or endangered species, and have dumped tens of thousands of pounds of illegal pesticides, rodenticides and fertilizers into rural communities. Illegal diversions are sucking water from rivers and streams, and the added impact of the state’s fourth drought year means rivers and streams are running dry.

“We are all well aware of all the regulations, permits, certificates and other processes that farmers and ranchers have to go through when growing wine grapes, row crops, grapes, raising cattle and sheep. But, right now there is NO regulation or permits for marijuana farmers, and that isn’t fair to anyone and Northern California communities and our pristine environment are paying the ultimate price,” McGuire said. “Of particular concern is the devastation of our watersheds, forest lands and the growing ‘edibles’ market that is estimated to take up to 30 percent of the current medical marijuana market.”

On the North Coast, many of the medical marijuana growers are running small family farm operations. SB 643 would provide a legal framework for those farmers who want to comply with state and local regulations.

SB 643 would create a statewide comprehensive regulatory program for medical marijuana, preserving local control of licenses and applications, and protecting the environment from illegal trespass grows that dump pesticides and illegally divert millions of gallons of water from rivers and streams. After approval by the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development, SB 643 will be heard by a second Senate Committee next week before going to the Senate floor.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

UPDATED: CHP Investigating Possible Cop-Versus-Pedestrian Accident in Eureka

Posted By on Tue, Apr 21, 2015 at 1:18 PM

UPDATE: See the full press releases from the Eureka Police Department and the California Highway Patrol copied below this post.

The California Highway Patrol is current investigating an incident in which a Eureka police officer may have run over a transient sleeping on the Balloon Track property, according to Eureka Police Capt. Steve Watson.

Watson said an officer from the department’s Problem Oriented Policing unit was patrolling the Balloon Track with a representative from the property owner — Security National subsidiary CUE VI — in an unmarked police car, investigating reports of trespassing and illegal camping on the property. “A person was covered with a blanket and grass and was allegedly — I don’t know exactly what happened — but his lower legs were possibly run over by the car,” Watson said of the incident, which occurred at about 12:45 p.m.

The captain said the unidentified man’s injuries don’t appear serious, noting that he refused medical treatment at the scene but agreed to be taken to a local hospital for evaluation as a precaution. Watson said the incident is being investigated by CHP, per standard protocol for accidents involving officers.

Calls placed to the local CHP were not immediately returned. CHP Sgt. Martin Abshire confirmed that the man hit by the unmarked patrol car suffered minor injuries, but said he could not provide any additional information at this time.

The Journal will update this post as additional information becomes available. For more information on the Balloon Track property, see recent Journal coverage here.

From CHP:

The afternoon of Tuesday, April 21, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) Humboldt Area responded to a Eureka Police Department (EPD) police vehicle versus pedestrian traffic collision that resulted in minor injuries to the pedestrian.

At approximately 12:00 p.m., a Eureka Police Officer driving an unmarked Crown Victoria was traveling at a speed of less than five miles per hour along a grassy access path within private property off Commercial Street and First Street in Eureka, commonly known as the Balloon Track. A transient, later identified as 30 year old Shane Bowling, was lying under a blanket within tall grass and his legs partially extending into the access path in the path of the police vehicle. The officer did not see Mr. Bowling’s legs and subsequently drove over his legs. Mr. Bowling was transported by ground ambulance with minor injuries to St. Joseph Hospital, where he was treated and released.

This is an ongoing investigation by the California Highway Patrol Humboldt Area at the request of the Eureka Police Department. The CHP Humboldt Area is committed to conducting a thorough and impartial investigation into this traffic collision.
From EPD:
On 04/21/15 at about 11:56 a.m., a Detective with the Eureka Police Department’s Problem Oriented Policing Unit (POP) was driving through the Balloon Track while investigating complaints of trespassing and illegal camping on the property. The detective was accompanied by a representative of the property owner.

Preliminary reports indicate the detective unknowingly ran over the lower legs of a transient male who was trespassing on the fully fenced, private property and sleeping under a grass covered blanket. The detective immediately called for medical aid and the male was subsequently transported to the hospital by ambulance as a precaution. The male later left the hospital on foot after being evaluated for the apparent minor injuries he sustained.

At EPD’s request, an independent and objective investigation of this incident was conducted by the California Highway Patrol.  

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Monday, April 20, 2015

4/20's Back!

Posted By on Mon, Apr 20, 2015 at 7:36 PM

Not the hordes of yesteryear. - GRANT SCOTT-GOFORTH
  • Grant Scott-Goforth
  • Not the hordes of yesteryear.
"This is lame," murmured one of Arcata's few hardcore stoners around 4:23 p.m. this afternoon. A couple of young men had stepped off the concrete slab at Redwood Park, the small piece of public property that the Humboldt Center for Constitutional Rights had wrested from the control of a zealous city staff over the course of the last few months.

Loco Coco came all the way from Los Angeles to celebrate. It was his second 4/20 in Arcata. He wasn't disappointed in the lack of a crowd. - GRANT SCOTT-GOFORTH
  • Grant Scott-Goforth
  • Loco Coco came all the way from Los Angeles to celebrate. It was his second 4/20 in Arcata. He wasn't disappointed in the lack of a crowd.
Around a hundred people mingled at the park on the chilly, foggy afternoon. A disparate cross-section of Arcata: sporty young male stoners, restless and edgy traveler types, college professors, attorneys and media — lots of media. But student reporters weren't the only ones collecting images. Organizers reported that eager police officers — around 10 of them at one point — avidly recorded HumRights' gathering. By 4 o'clock, much of the weed-enthusiast crowd had dissipated into the Community Forest. Most of the cops disappeared too.

Jim Gray, of McKinleyville, promoted his homemade board game at the event. "Weed: The Game" is a lot like Monopoly. Grab resource cards, race to the finish line (dispensary), and "the winner has the most money." - GRANT SCOTT-GOFORTH
  • Grant Scott-Goforth
  • Jim Gray, of McKinleyville, promoted his homemade board game at the event. "Weed: The Game" is a lot like Monopoly. Grab resource cards, race to the finish line (dispensary), and "the winner has the most money."
When the minute struck, a couple of hoots and hollers emanated from corners of the park. Former Arcata city councilman and HumRights board member Dave Meserve took a moment to step away from the grill to announce to the small crowd, "It is 4:20, so if you're going to indulge, please step onto the grass." This, apparently, was to comply with HumRights' promise that no one would smoke at their event.

Just a handful of people made any attempt to honor the herby holiday. - GRANT SCOTT-GOFORTH
  • Grant Scott-Goforth
  • Just a handful of people made any attempt to honor the herby holiday.
A few people sparked up. But far more smoke emanated from the barbecue where HumRights volunteers turned hot dogs, feeding a small, consistent contingent of hungry 20-somethings.

  • Grant Scott-Goforth
  • 'Murica.
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Dramatic Rescue on the Lost Coast Trail

Posted By on Mon, Apr 20, 2015 at 4:46 PM

Rescue crews battled fog, an incoming tide, darkness and fatigue to save an injured hiker from a remote trail near Shelter Cove Sunday morning. - SUBMITTED
  • submitted
  • Rescue crews battled fog, an incoming tide, darkness and fatigue to save an injured hiker from a remote trail near Shelter Cove Sunday morning.
Emergency crews from almost a dozen agencies worked through Saturday night and into Sunday morning to rescue a hiker from a remote area of the Lost Coast Trail, near Shelter Cove.

The crews battled an incoming tide, darkness and heavy fog to get the hiker — who’d been critically injured in a fall — to safety. The full press release from the Briceland Fire Department describing the harrowing rescue is copied below. And for more information on the Lost Coast Trail, check out last week’s Journal cover story here.

Press release:
On Saturday, April 18, a small group of hikers and dozens of emergency personnel including two helicopters worked against an incoming tide, darkness, and heavy fog to save a man critically injured in a fall. The rescue took place on the remote and rugged Lost Coast Trail between the mouth of the Mattole River and Shelter Cove.

At 7:12 P.M. emergency personnel responded to a call from hikers who had discovered a fall victim with major injuries along the Lost Coast Trail near the beach at Miller Flat, about 8 miles north of the small coastal town of Shelter Cove. With the description of the injuries the man had sustained, we knew we needed to move quickly to get him to a high level of care. The Lost Coast is very rugged and nighttime was coming as well as a high tide at 12:26am.

The Emergency Command Center continued to maintain contact with the people that were with the victim by cell phone. A small group of hikers had discovered the victim towards evening. With the incoming tide, they knew the victim couldn't stay where he was. The hikers built a makeshift litter and packed the victim to higher ground. There they stabilized his injuries as best they could with items they had on hand.

Rescuers quickly developed and put into place several rescue plans so that if one was unable to be carried out another would already be in motion.

The first plan was that a Coast Guard helicopter would fly in to the area to pick up the victim. Upon arrival, the Coast Guard helicopter found the area to be under heavy fog and they were unable to affect a rescue.

Simultaneously, a plan to reach the victim by ground was being implemented. Rescuers responded to the Smith-Etter Road to gain access to the beach at Spanish Flat.

Once the crew members reached the beach, they began hiking about 5 miles south to the victim. By this time it was dark, foggy, and high tide pushed the ocean up against the cliffs. In addition, the crews needed to hike in all required rescue equipment and medical supplies.

The rescuers reached the victim around 2am and started medical care. A new landing zone (LZ) was established on Big Flat where the fog had receded. This was a mile north of the victim’s location and the crew started moving in that direction.

The Coast Guard helicopter as well as the Reach medical helicopter were called in to attempt another rescue. The Reach helicopter got to the Big Flat LZ first but by the time they got there the fog had rolled back in and they were unable to land. The Coast Guard arrived shortly after and made several attempts but were also unable to land due to the fog.

At this time the only option was to pack the victim several miles north to where Shelter Cove Fire could meet the rescuers with their specialized all-terrain vehicle (atv) equipped with advanced life support personnel.

At 6am rescue crews reached Big Creek and transferred the victim to the advanced medical personnel on the atv. They then transported to the medical helicopter where the victim was flown to an out of area trauma center.

This rescue was one of the most complex rescues to date for all the crews involved. The rescue took several agencies and many personnel and could not have been successful without the dedication and team work of all involved. The agencies involved included, Cal Fire ECC, US Coast Guard, Reach Air Medical Services, City Ambulance, and volunteer firefighters from, Shelter Cove Fire dept., Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue Team, Telegraph Ridge Fire dept., Honeydew Fire dept. and Petrolia Fire dept. We would also like to acknowledge the civilian hikers who’s quick thinking and heroic actions helped save a life.

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