Monday, September 21, 2015

Homeless in Humboldt Update: Death, Drones and Rallies

Posted By on Mon, Sep 21, 2015 at 3:31 PM


A drone video of the PalCo Marsh, known to some as "The Devil's Playground," shows camps still firmly entrenched in the wooded area just behind the mall, an area where the Eureka Police Department is preparing to cite and arrest campers. EPD is encouraging people to move north, to the flat area adjacent to the Bayshore Mall's overflow parking lot, which would provide easier access for medical and police personnel. The policy is in response to what EPD Chief Andy Mills has called an "an unbelievable amount of violence in and around the homeless camps."

Letter from Capt. Stephens. - LINDA STANSBERRY
  • Linda Stansberry
  • Letter from Capt. Stephens.
Mills said that they want people "to be in an area where they have services, have help."

"We don’t have adequate housing for everybody who’s houseless," he said. "I have directed officers to move people towards pole shed area, where we have more access for police, fire and medics."

In a letter to a local homeless advocate, EPD Capt. Brian Stephens said the department will be doing enforcement operations in certain areas to crack down on illegal camping. "We have identified one area where we will be doing less enforcement, unless there is a rise in violence, that we are telling people to go," Stephens wrote, describing the greenbelt at the foot of Vigo Street north of the mall. "This area will still see police presence but will not be a focus area of enforcement."

EPD Capt. Steve Watson said the agency is taking a zero tolerance policy towards camping in city parks, such as Cooper Gulch or Sequoia Park.

But Councilmember Kim Bergel said this is not a call for campers in other parts of the city to move to the marsh, where they are trying to "move people out." Watson also said he doesn't want the marsh to become known regionally as "the spot to go." A woman whose camp at the corner of Sixth and T streets was served notice by EPD officers last week said she was told to "move to the Devil's Playground." 

The Eureka City Council will revisit the issue Oct. 20, at which time Bergel and others plan to present a definitive "exit plan" for marsh campers. 

On Saturday, Sept. 19, the Eureka Police Department and Humboldt Bay Fire were called to the greenbelt area near the foot of West Hawthorne Street, north of the marsh area, for reports of a dead body. The Lost Coast Outpost reported on scanner calls about a deceased male, but the coroner's office has no further information at this time. Watson confirmed that the man was found by a fellow homeless person, and at the moment no foul play is suspected.

Both Watson and Bergel said they are opposed to use of the name "The Devil's Playground." Bergel said it "demonizes" residents. Watson said his department is discouraging the sense of ownership and "entitlement" some marsh campers have developed. 

Facebook activism group "Operation Safe Streets," in which users post updates about crime and homeless issues in Humboldt County, is encouraging people to attend an anti-crime rally in front of the Bayshore Mall on Oct. 4.

A service fair will be held in the north end of the parking lot, this Friday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Watson said EPD officers will not be doing a "sweep" of restricted camping areas, but will be continuing enforcement at the south end of the marsh, and those who refuse to move from the area will be arrested under the city's camping ordinance.



Anti-Crime Rally - OPERATION SAFE STREETS
  • Operation Safe Streets
  • Anti-Crime Rally

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Thomas' Death Ruled a Homicide

Posted By on Mon, Sep 21, 2015 at 12:44 PM

Terry Lee Thomas - COURTESY OF THOMAS' FAMILY
  • Courtesy of Thomas' family
  • Terry Lee Thomas
The Humboldt County Coroner’s Office has officially determined Terry Lee Thomas’s death to be a homicide.

The 63-year-old homeless Eureka man was found bloodied and unresponsive shortly after 8 p.m. on Sept. 8 in the parking lot of the Courthouse Market in the 900 block of Fourth Street. He later died at a local hospital.

According to police, Thomas had been in an altercation with a man outside the market in which some words were exchanged before the man punched Thomas in the face, causing him to fall to the ground. “It appears his death was the result of the fall,” said EPD Sgt. Kay Howden. “He was punched, causing him to fall, resulting in severe head trauma.”

The man who punched Thomas then reportedly called 911, telling dispatchers he’d been in an altercation with Thomas, who was now lying unresponsive on the ground. The caller was later cooperative with police, who also interviewed an independent witness and the caller’s 16-year-old companion who “may have also been involved in the incident.”

Howden said investigators will likely await the official coroner’s report from forensic pathologist Mark Super, which could take weeks, before forwarding the case on to the district attorney’s office for a charging decision.

Thomas’ is one of 37 homicides recorded in Humboldt County since the start of 2013, including 10 so far this year. Last year, the county recorded 16 killings, its highest tally in at least three decades.
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Sunday, September 20, 2015

HumBug: Don't Worry, Bee Happy

Posted By on Sun, Sep 20, 2015 at 5:50 PM

Honeybees at work on a pumpkin flower. - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • Honeybees at work on a pumpkin flower.
With great alarm, many articles have informed us that honeybees are dying out in record numbers. The phenomenon is called Colony Collapse Disorder. There are numerous theories from over use of neo-nicitonieoids insecticides, GMO crops, mites, climatological stress and a combination of all of the above. Like a plague, it has wiped out many hives of commercial bee keepers. The quote “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man,” has been attributed to Albert Einstein. To the best of my knowledge he never said such a thing and he would have been unlikely to.

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HSU Gets Sexual Assault Funding

Posted By on Sun, Sep 20, 2015 at 12:30 PM

FACEBOOK
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Humboldt State University announced recently that it won a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to reduce sexualized violence on campus. It's part of a $8.5 million nationwide effort at 27 colleges.

The funding will allow the university to expand its Check It program, which the Journal wrote about in February, as well as work with community programs designed to reduce and respond to sexual assault.


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Saturday, September 19, 2015

Your Next Alibi

Posted By on Sat, Sep 19, 2015 at 2:51 PM

Finally! - GRANT SCOTT-GOFORTH
  • Grant Scott-Goforth
  • Finally!
Headed down to the Arcata Plaza this weekend for the North Country Fair? Make sure to stop for a Bloody Mary at the new Alibi expansion, which opened Friday afternoon. Owner Justin Ladd says he expects the kitchen to reopen for food within a week. Meanwhile, you can have a drink in the stylish, bright, spacious new wing. 


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Multiple Agencies Push Homeless Campers to a "Safer" Place

Posted By on Sat, Sep 19, 2015 at 10:00 AM

Kathleen Hytholt in her camp. - LINDA STANSBERRY
  • Linda Stansberry
  • Kathleen Hytholt in her camp.
Kathleen Hytholt doesn't know where she's going to go. Hytholt has been living in a makeshift shelter in the greenbelt at the corner of Sixth and T streets in Eureka for two months. She has been homeless for three years. The young people in the camp call her "Mama Kat." Their kids call her "Grandma Kat." 

"I won't go to the Devil's Playground," she said, referring to the PalCo Marsh area behind the mall where around 100 people are camped. "I won't go to Cooper Gulch either. Bad things happen there. Evil things. I wouldn't be here if I didn't have to be. Nobody would."

But the Eureka Police Department is urging her, and others, to move to the north part of the PalCo marsh. While previous plans to establish a "sanctuary camp" for the city's homeless were abandoned by the city, it appears as though an unofficial "safe place" is in fact being encouraged. A rash of recent violence among the homeless population camped in Eureka's marshes and forested areas has prompted the agency to consolidate campers in the flat, open section north of the Bayshore Mall.


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Friday, September 18, 2015

Name the Faces on the Journal, Win Big

Posted By on Fri, Sep 18, 2015 at 4:42 PM

25th-cover-numbered.jpg
Got a good handle on the faces of Humboldt? Did you have a good pore over the 25th anniversary issue of the Journal that hit stands on Wednesday?

Journalistas had a good time putting that Sgt. Peppery cover together, and we hope you got in on the fun. And to test just how in-the-Humboldt-know you are, we're asking you to name every last North Coast icon on the cover. Whoever gets the most right wins $50 to Six Rivers Brewery, and a tie will be be broken by randomly selecting among the winners. So come on, sharp-eyed nostalgists, show us what you've got. (We know you can get more right than the folks at Lost Coast Outpost.)

Email your answers by 9 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 21 to editor@northcoastjournal.com, with "Cover Contest" in the subject line and your numbered answers in the body of the email. Use the numbered key above to give your answers, and, just because we're feeling nice, you can copy and paste the numbers below to save yourself some time. The answers will be published in next week's Journal.

Here's to another 25!

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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Sidney Dominitz: 1941-2015

Posted By on Thu, Sep 17, 2015 at 12:27 PM

Sidney Dominitz in Trinidad, the town he called home for 40 years. - FACEBOOK
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  • Sidney Dominitz in Trinidad, the town he called home for 40 years.
Sidney Dominitz, a longtime Humboldt State University journalism lecturer and editor of the Northcoast Environmental Center’s EcoNews, died early Saturday morning of complications from a heart condition. He was 74.

A fixture on the North Coast for roughly 40 years, Dominitz is remembered by friends and colleagues as a man whose sharp wit and warm heart spilled through his editing pen as he improved the work of those around him. A born copy editor, Dominitz devoted nearly three decades of his life to editing the EcoNews, using his mastery of the English language and wealth of newspaper experience to fight for the forests, waterways and wildlife he loved.


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Homicide in Eureka UPDATED With Memorial Information

Posted By on Thu, Sep 17, 2015 at 11:27 AM

terry_lee_thomas.jpg
A memorial for Terry Lee Thomas will be held tonight at the Holiday Inn Express at 6 p.m. Thomas' sister, Phyllis Thomas, says in the announcement:

"We’ve heard that Terry was well liked by all who knew him despite his circumstances. We invite you to come join us to share the experiences and memories you have with us as we mourn his passing. We want to hear your stories as we share a slideshow of his life with you."


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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Marsh Campers Condensed in Wake of Stabbings

Posted By on Wed, Sep 16, 2015 at 5:08 PM

Campers are being encouraged to move from sections six and five towards section two. - CITY OF EUREKA
  • City of Eureka
  • Campers are being encouraged to move from sections six and five towards section two.

The Eureka Police Department and homeless advocacy group Friends of the Marsh are encouraging campers in the PalCo Marsh area to move their camps from directly behind the Bayshore Mall to the northern part of the marsh, away from the abandoned structures and closer to Vigo Street.

The push comes in response to two recent stabbings in the vicinity. Erin Powers-Taylor, of Friends of the Marsh, said condensing the campers will make it easier to provide services. She was in the area this morning speaking to campers and handing out rain jackets and ponchos.


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