Tuesday, July 28, 2015

UPDATE: Death behind Bayshore Mall

Posted By on Tue, Jul 28, 2015 at 2:12 PM

Marsh residents created a makeshift memorial for Kenneth "Hillbilly" Eldeen at the place where he passed. - LINDA STANSBERRY
  • Linda Stansberry
  • Marsh residents created a makeshift memorial for Kenneth "Hillbilly" Eldeen at the place where he passed.

The Eureka Police Department has confirmed that Kenneth Eldeen, who was found unconscious in the encampment behind the Bayshore Mall on June 24, died from an overdose. His death was originally deemed suspicious because of an alleged altercation Eldeen had with another marsh resident earlier that evening. Eldeen, nicknamed "Hillbilly" by his friends, was originally from South Dakota. One fellow camper said he was "jumped for not even six dollars." But Sgt. Ernie Stewart of the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office says that Eldeen's death is one of many he attributes to a regional epidemic of drug-related fatalities.

"Humboldt County is being overrun with illicit drugs, and it's getting worse in all facets," said Stewart.

From the EPD:

On 06/24/15 at about 8:53 p.m., the Eureka Police Department responded to the Palco marsh area for the report that a man in his 40’s was unconscious and needed medical attention. The man, later identified as Kenneth Eldeen, 46 of South Dakota, was transported to the hospital and pronounced deceased by hospital staff.

Due to the unknown circumstances surrounding the death, a suspicious death investigation was opened. An autopsy was performed and the Corner has determined that the cause of death was overdose. No foul play was suspected.  

An unresponsive man found in a tent north of the Bayshore Mall last night died after being transported to the hospital, according to Eureka police. Kenneth Lee Eldeen was found by medical personnel and police officers who were called to the area around 9 p.m.

A press release indicated that investigators were treating Eldeen’s death as suspicious, and that several people who resided in the greenbelt area near where Eldeen was found were interviewed. Police Sgt. K. Howden told the Journal this afternoon that the death could be "medical in nature" and an autopsy is scheduled. She added there is nothing to indicate that residents should be concerned for their safety.

Eldeen was born in 1969, Howden said, and was 45 or 46 years old.

Press releases from EPD:

The Humboldt County Coroner’s Office has released the identity of the man who was found un-responsive in the green belt area north of the Bay Shore Mall on the evening of 6/24/15. The decedent’s name is Kenneth Lee Eldeen. His next of kin have been notified by the Coroner’s Office. The circumstances surrounding this un-attended death are still under investigation.


On June 24, 2015 at 2053 hours, the Eureka Police Department received a cellular call from the marsh area, commonly referred to as the Devil’s Playground, that a man in his 40’s was unconscious needed medical attention. Officers were sent along with medical personnel. Officers located an unresponsive man and immediately began CPR. The man was transported to Saint Joseph Hospital where he received medical treatment. The man, who has yet to be identified, was pronounced deceased by hospital staff.

Due to the circumstance surrounding his death, investigators were called and began a suspicious death investigation. Several people were interviewed in order to gain a full understanding of the events that took place leading to the man’s death. An autopsy will be scheduled by the Coroner to determine the cause of death.

Anyone with information concerning this incident should call or come to the Eureka Police Department. The number for Criminal Investigations Section is (707) 441-4032.  

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Friday, July 10, 2015

THREE DAYS LEFT: Photo Contest! Style, Humboldt Style

Posted By on Fri, Jul 10, 2015 at 10:13 AM

Hey readers — every year we ask you to whip out your smart phone, pack up your DSLR or dust off that old 35mm camera to frame and snap some photos that scream “Humboldt.”

That time has come again, and this year we’re asking you to go out (or in) and capture Humboldt’s best styles. That means the people, rides, pets or designs that exemplify that certain North Coast je ne sais quoi. Wetsuits, Carhartts, dreadlocks, skinny jeans, sequins, plaid — we want to see Humboldt chic, whether or not it’s really, you know, chic.

Whether it’s you spending hours putting together an ensemble, or that friend we each have that always looks effortlessly cool, grab a camera, pose somewhere pretty and do your best Annie Leibovitz. Street fashion’s cool too — but we need names for the models, so no snickering submissions.

Submit your high-resolution JPEGs, along with your name, phone number, and the name of your model (if applicable), to photocontest@northcoastjournal.com. Your pictures have to be fresh, meaning taken since the contest began on June 16, so include the date and time the photo shoot took place. Also, no Photoshop, Instagram-y filters or other tampering. You have until 11:59 p.m. on July 13, so don’t dilly dally.

Journal favorites have a chance at being published in a future issue and claiming more than $200 in gift certificates to local stores and restaurants, so get out there and find the people that make Humboldt look good, or, at least, look Humboldt. 

Check out our past photo contest spreads here and here.
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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Camp On, Camp Off

Posted By on Tue, Jun 30, 2015 at 9:57 AM

An illegal camp behind the Bayshore Mall. - THADEUS GREENSON
  • Thadeus Greenson
  • An illegal camp behind the Bayshore Mall.

Police Chief Andy Mills denied Monday that his department is wholly scrapping plans to create a temporary city-sanctioned campsite for Eureka’s homeless. Instead, Mills said, the plan has been put “on a back burner.”

“We ran into several issues with oversight and funding. Unfortunately, this is just one of those deals where it’s tough to get it done effectively,” said Mills. In previous presentations to the city council, Mills has said that while the issue of homelessness is a societal problem rather than a police problem, he supports a temporary sanctioned camp to alleviate the negative impacts of illegal camping and provide a safe place for the city’s homeless.

Eureka Community Development Director Robert Holmlund confirmed that he and his department are continuing to search for a place for a sanctioned camp, and are currently in dialogue with the California Coastal Commission about some proposed sites.

“We’re committed to ending homelessness in Eureka,” said Holmlund. “It’s not an easy task. We’re doing the best we can with the resources we have.”

Holmlund said that his committee is evaluating a number of different criteria for the proposed site, including ease of access, neighborhood and environmental concerns. The amount of people to be accommodated by the camp is open to negotiation, he said. Previously members of Affordable Homeless Housing Alternatives (AHHA) had offered support for oversight of camps, but balked at the idea that camps might accommodate 100 to 300 people. Twenty-five people per camp would be a more manageable size, according to Nezzie Wade of AHHA.

Whatever the eventual size and location of the camps, Holmlund said oversight should be provided by an outside agency, saying that city workers don’t have the necessary experience.

A temporary “sanctuary camp” is crucial to the third step of a four-part strategy developed by Mills and city staff. “Operation Clean Sweep” would initiate the removal of homeless people from existing camps, sending them to a sanctioned camp before they were housed using the rapid re-housing model a city consultant, Focus Solutions, determined is the best solution.

Mills and Holmlund have both said that while the search for a camp site continues, more energy is being focused on implementing the rapid re-housing model, specifically the repurposing of the Multiple Assistance Center. As of July 1, Mills said, the center should be able to accommodate 40 individuals, but could expand to meet the needs of up to 100.

For the time being, Mills said his officers will not be issuing citations for illegal camping, will not be “clearing out” entrenched encampments such as the one behind the Bayshore Mall, and will be contacting individuals on a complaint-driven basis, or for specific issues such as drugs, weapons and violence.

In a phone call, City Manager Greg Sparks expressed a more cynical opinion about the sanctuary camp model. Although he declined to quantify how much staff time is being put towards finding a site, he stated that the idea has been greatly "de-prioritized" and that the temporary camp plan has been effectively removed from "Operation Clean Sweep." He also said that the city would become "much more aggressive" with the cleanups, working with the Sheriff's Work Alternative Program to make weekly visits to entrenched illegal camps. Although SWAP and city employees will not be taking down tents, occupants would be served notice three days in advance of these camp cleanups, be told to pack up and move, and that any belongings left behind would be disposed of.

Mills said that he is continuing to research evidence-based practices that have been proven to be effective against homelessness. The rapid-rehousing approach “does seem to have a lot of impact,” he says, but the jury is out as to whether it reduces the overall homeless population. Other proposed solutions, such as sanctuary camps and the tiny house village AHHA has suggested, may not have a body of evidence to support the cost of creating and maintaining them, but Mills indicated there may be a gap between philosophy and strategy in this case.

“How do you put a cost on a humanistic approach to people, to human dignity?” he asked.
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Friday, June 26, 2015

Sheriff: $26 Million Worth of Marijuana Eradicated on Island Mountain

Posted By on Fri, Jun 26, 2015 at 3:55 PM

  • Humboldt County Sheriff's Office
The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office served search warrants on eight properties during the course of its Island Mountain raids this weekend, seizing or eradicating 23,000 plants, 4,000 pounds of marijuana, 15 pounds of hash, 16 guns and 50,000 rounds of ammunition from seven of the properties. The office estimates that was $26 million worth of marijuana. No arrests were made.

A woman at the eighth raided property was found to be in compliance with Proposition 215. The sheriff's office said it's working to figure out who owns the properties in question and to identify potential suspects. Read more about the raids in the Week in Weed and check out the sheriff's office press release pasted below.

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Humboldt Celebrates Love

Posted By on Fri, Jun 26, 2015 at 11:49 AM

Pride on the Plaza. - FILE
  • File
  • Pride on the Plaza.
"When I was seven years old my mother told me that sooner or later the United States was going to have to recognize gay marriage. I am 78 now. I have been crying and laughing all morning."

Ginger Olsen has been with her partner Diana Livingston for 22 years. They married in the State of California last year. This morning the Supreme Court officially ruled that states cannot ban gay marriage, meaning that the couple's partnership must be legally recognized across the United States. Olsen describes herself as "walking about three feet off the ground." She says that many people asked them why they decided to have a legal ceremony after being together for so long.

"It was the fact that we could. We felt that it was necessary to underline that the law says we can. The funny part is that we felt totally different after we got married, and I’ve heard that from lots of lots of gay couples," says Olsen. "We did not expect to feel differently, but with the very act of marriage, we became kinder to each other, we felt relaxed. As far as touching us personally, what it really means is I don’t have to make a big deal out of us anymore. We’re equal."

The court decision has some practical implications for local couples as well. Todd Larsen, a local business owner and member of Queer Humboldt, says that in the past he and his husband have been nervous about traveling to one of the 14 states where their marriage was not recognized. If one of them had been hospitalized, the other may not have been admitted. Married couples who relocate for work or other reasons can be assured that their legal status will be upheld no matter where they settle.

Lovers of love will be celebrating outside the County Courthouse from 5-6 p.m. tonight, and on the Arcata Plaza starting at 7 p.m.

Haters will be hiding at home and crying into their buckets of Chick-Fil-A.
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Sunday, June 21, 2015

HumBug: Artful Dodgers

Posted By on Sun, Jun 21, 2015 at 3:00 PM

A Common Whitetail in the garden. - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • A Common Whitetail in the garden.
Today, faced with the humdrum task of taking old stuff out to the compost bin, I grabbed a camera on the off chance I might see something more interesting than rotten potato peels. Flying low and fast, dodging between grass stalks and tangled branches was a Common Whitetail (Plathemis lydia). With their dark wingspots, agile flight and bright markings, they remind me of old fashioned bi-planes.

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Re-Christening the Golden Rule

Posted By on Sun, Jun 21, 2015 at 12:07 PM

Michael Gonzalez, of Trinidad, pauses for a moment on the rear deck of the Golden Rule prior to its launching on Saturday, June 20 at the Zerlang & Zerlang  boat yard on the Samoa peninsula. He said he was easily persuaded to join the restoration project over three years ago when he heard it was a wooden boat. - MARK LARSON
  • Mark Larson
  • Michael Gonzalez, of Trinidad, pauses for a moment on the rear deck of the Golden Rule prior to its launching on Saturday, June 20 at the Zerlang & Zerlang boat yard on the Samoa peninsula. He said he was easily persuaded to join the restoration project over three years ago when he heard it was a wooden boat.
“Hey hippie” was the tongue-in-cheek greeting on the electronic sign giving directions to the turn off on the Samoa peninsula to the Zerlang & Zerlang Boat Yard on Saturday, June 20. This was the first hint that the launching ceremony of the rebuilt sailing vessel Golden Rule was going to be a special mix of humor, well-deserved pride in boat restoration and a history lesson about non-violent peaceful protest against nuclear war.

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Friday, June 19, 2015

Wildlife of Old Town

Posted By on Fri, Jun 19, 2015 at 3:54 PM

Animal Control responding to Ramone's. - LINDA STANSBERRY
  • Linda Stansberry
  • Animal Control responding to Ramone's.
Eureka Police Department's Animal Control Officer, Rob Patton, escorted an unwanted guest from Ramone's in Old Town on Friday morning. The bushy-tailed varmint had been curled up beneath the pastry counter for an undetermined period of time, only to be noticed by a barista coming in for her mid-morning shift. As customers and staff watched, Patton used a long pole to nudge the raccoon from its hiding place and out the door. An employee hastily stepped outside to warn customers away from the entrance.

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Homeowners Allege Firefighters in Saddle Fire Endangered Lives, Property

Posted By on Fri, Jun 19, 2015 at 11:02 AM

Damage from the Saddle Fire. - SUBMITTED
  • Damage from the Saddle Fire.

A backburn lit by an incident team on the Saddle Fire reversed direction on June 12, jumping the county road to burn 150 acres of private land and threaten the lives of three Hyampom residents.

“We asked them not to light the backburn,” said Jennifer Lance, whose husband, Richard Collins, beat the blaze away from their rural home with the help of two friends. Their property, she said, now resembles “a moonscape.”

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Up a Tree

Posted By on Thu, Jun 18, 2015 at 10:55 AM

  • Keith Ladzinski/Red Bull content pool
Chris Sharma (kind of a big deal among people who scale things, mostly rocks) filmed a climb up a redwood tree in Sequoia Park last month. The renowned climber, who hails from Santa Cruz, spider-monkeyed his way up the 600-700-year-old, fire-scarred trunk with his bare hands, a lead rope and no other gadgetry.

You can learn more about the climb here, and you don't have to feel all click-bait gross about it — sponsor Red Bull is donating $ .10 per unique view to redwood research.

Do we even have to tell you not to try this on your own? Sharma and Red Bull (kind of a big deal among beverages that get you all hopped up) had to get a filming permit from the Humboldt Del Norte Film Commission and a special events permit from Eureka's City Clerk's office. Eureka Parks and Recreation Director Miles Slattery says the special events permit, the kind required for something like a kinetic sculpture race, required about $2 million in general liability for starters, and the parks supervisor had to deem the climb not dangerous to the tree.

"A person who weighs — what was he, 170 pounds?" Slattery chuckles, "is not going to cause any damage to a redwood tree." Slattery also pointed out that the small spikes that held the lead rope only pierced the bark, not the cambium, and so caused no damage to the tree. But this was a one-time thing — Slattery says he's not so sure climbing would be harmless if scores of people did it.

So save a tree and the wrath of Parks and Recreation and just watch the video. Besides, it looks exhausting.

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