Sunday, April 17, 2016

HumBug: Return of the Zombies (and Everybody Else)

Posted By and on Sun, Apr 17, 2016 at 3:00 PM

The zombie dung flies are back. - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • The zombie dung flies are back.
It is early April, and the world of insects is finally warming up. I've spotted more of the "zombie" flies, paralyzed by fungus, that were cropping up last year in early March (“Zombie Dung Flies,” March 1, 2015). I've seen a few snakeflies lately. These used to be included in the order Neuroptera with the lacewings but scientists have given them their own order now, Raphidioptera. Their long “necks” are distinctive. They are welcome guests in my garden as they eat many small pest species, such as aphids. The female has a long ovipositor (egg laying structure) on the end of her abdomen for depositing eggs in the furrows in tree bark.

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TL;DR: Five Things You Need to Know About This Week's Cover Story

Posted By on Sun, Apr 17, 2016 at 11:10 AM

cover0414.jpg
Busy week? We get it, and we're not judging. Here are some highlights from “Until the Sun Sets” to get you caught up.

On April 6, federal, state and tribal officials descended on Yurok Tribal land to ink a new pact to remove four hydroelectric dams that have choked the Klamath River for decades. It was a historic day, but beyond the pomp and circumstance, what does the deal really mean for the river and the new path forward toward dam removal?

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Saturday, April 16, 2016

Mayor Jager Hears Realtors' Concerns, Vetoes Ordinance

Posted By on Sat, Apr 16, 2016 at 10:30 AM

Eureka Mayor Frank Jager has vetoed an ordinance for the first time in 20 years, and possibly on the second time in the city's history. - THADEUS GREENSON
  • Thadeus Greenson
  • Eureka Mayor Frank Jager has vetoed an ordinance for the first time in 20 years, and possibly on the second time in the city's history.
For the first time in 20 years, Eureka’s mayor has vetoed an ordinance passed by the city council.

Eureka Mayor Frank Jager sent the council a memorandum on Thursday advising that he is vetoing its April 5 vote to pass an ordinance requiring residents to have their lateral sewer lines — those connecting their houses to the main city line — inspected and, if needed, repaired. The ordinance, a similar version of which recently passed in Arcata, requires the inspections and repairs under several conditions, including whenever the property sells to a new owner.

But, citing concerns from real estate agents and homeowners, Jager wielded his seldom used veto power to send the bill back to the council for further consideration.

“I don’t feel the ordinance was vetted well with the community,” Jager wrote. “Other communities considering such an ordinance have held information workshops with the public and taken input from the real estate community. The impact of this ordinance on the homeowner is not a minor expense.”

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Friday, April 15, 2016

Psychedelic Pizza Hoax Spawns EPD Investigation

Posted By on Fri, Apr 15, 2016 at 1:29 PM

An ordinary mushroom pizza. - WIKIMEDIA
  • wikimedia
  • An ordinary mushroom pizza.
In what has to be one of the stranger crime reports in recent memory, the Eureka Police Department is investigating an apparent hoax designed to make a local woman think she’d gotten way more mushrooms on her pizza than she bargained for.

On Wednesday evening, a Eureka woman in her early 20s used the Domino's mobile app to order a meat pizza with mushrooms on half of it from the chain’s local restaurant. All seemed normal when the pizza was delivered until, moments after the delivery driver left, the woman’s phone rang.

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Bullock Pulls Insanity Plea, Faces Life in Prison for Priest's Murder

Posted By on Fri, Apr 15, 2016 at 12:54 PM

Gary Lee Bullock (above left) stands next to his attorney, Kaleb Cockrum, during his arraignment. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • Gary Lee Bullock (above left) stands next to his attorney, Kaleb Cockrum, during his arraignment.
Multiple media outlets are reporting that, four days after being convicted of murdering and torturing St. Bernard’s Catholic Church pastor Eric Freed, Gary Lee Bullock has withdrawn his not guilty by reason of insanity plea, against the advice of his attorney.

According to reports, with the sanity phase of his trial slated to begin this morning, Bullock surprised the courtroom by announcing his intent to withdraw his plea. Humboldt County Superior Court Judge John Feeney then advised Bullock of the rights he’d be giving up, made sure he understood them, and then set the case for sentencing on May 11, when Bullock will face life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Shipping Container Homeless Village: Happening. Probably.

Posted By on Wed, Apr 13, 2016 at 4:49 PM

HumCPR founder Lee Ulansey, Eureka Mayor Frank Jager, HumCPR Executive Director Alec Ziegler and Betty Chinn (from left to right) at today's press conference. - THADEUS GREENSON
  • Thadeus Greenson
  • HumCPR founder Lee Ulansey, Eureka Mayor Frank Jager, HumCPR Executive Director Alec Ziegler and Betty Chinn (from left to right) at today's press conference.
 A bed, three meals a day and a door that locks: Small luxuries, but still more than many have. This is what the new partnership between the Betty Kwan Chinn Homeless Foundation and the Humboldt Coalition for Property Rights is promising for at least 40 of the currently homeless people living behind the Bayshore Mall, in the form of converted shipping containers. The partnership, dubbed the Greater Eureka Community Outreach Program, has solicited money and resources from a number of private and public donors in order to create a temporary space for those facing displacement from the Palco Marsh on May 2, but obstacles remain.

“We haven’t yet figured out the insurance,” said HumCPR founder Lee Ulansey at today’s press conference. “We have some promising but tentative leads.”

GECOP must also wait for the Eureka City Council to modify its Shelter Crisis Resolution, passed in January, to include their proposal so they can bypass some city codes. And they will likely have to get approval from the Coastal Commission for this development, as the shipping container village, to spring up at the Mercer Fraser parking lot at Third and Commercial streets, falls within the boundaries of the Coastal Zone. (Coastal Commission staff wasn't immediately available to answer the question this afternoon.)

Despite these potential hurdles, the project seems to be moving along at a pace unprecedented for this particular issue. Within a scant two weeks, the two organizations have scratched together funding from private donors and from the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services, arranged with the Betty Kwan Chinn Foundation to coordinate meals, supervision and counseling services, and purchased its first seven shipping containers, which will be converted to small 10 by 8 foot rooms with windows, beds, doors and shelving. The retrofitting of the containers will be performed by several local construction companies that are largely donating their time and materials.

“This is a miracle,” said Betty Chinn at the conference. “In 30 years, this is the first time ever business people approached me to work on this problem.”

A model of a renovated container and a site plan. - THADEUS GREENSON
  • Thadeus Greenson
  • A model of a renovated container and a site plan.
Chinn and Ulansey were joined at the press conference by Humboldt County Supervisor Virginia Bass, Eureka City Councilmember Marian Brady, Eureka Mayor Frank Jager and DHHS Director Connie Beck. Ulansey credited HumCPR Executive Director Alec Ziegler and the Betty Chinn Day Center’s program manager, Theresa Hessian, for “thinking outside the box.”

“No pun intended,” quipped Brady.

Hessian said Chinn has been personally networking with current marsh campers and that the shelters will be open on a “first come, first serve” basis. Singles, couples, people with mental illness, registered sex offenders and people with dogs will all be welcome. The only requirements are that people be ambulatory, over 18, that they be nonviolent and do not use drugs onsite. Staff from Chinn’s center will supervise the site and help connect clients with existing county services. Beck is expected to approach the Board of Supervisors in the coming weeks to request using $130,000 from the DHHS budget to pay for the shipping containers.

Although the city of Eureka is still entertaining requests for proposals for a temporary camp for Palco Marsh campers, the GECOP scheme falls outside of the RFP process. It is, however, a temporary camp, due to open on April 26 and close or move after six months.

“While their time at Mercer Fraser may be limited, shipping containers are portable,” said Ulansey, adding that a different “lucky person” might move them onto his or her property after six months.

It seems likely that the proposal will be accepted by the Eureka City Council next Tuesday.

“The council and myself are delighted that HumCPR has stepped up,” said Jager. “This affects the business community more than anyplace else. When [county Supervisor] Rex [Bohn] contacted me last week and mentioned this is in the works, I couldn’t have been more happy.”
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Minor Inconvenience

Posted By on Wed, Apr 13, 2016 at 11:25 AM

PHOTO BY GRANT SCOTT-GOFORTH, ILLUSTRATION BY HOLLY HARVEY
  • Photo by Grant Scott-Goforth, Illustration by Holly Harvey
The Minor Theater will open on April 20 for the Humboldt International Film Festival — and close when the festival ends.

The Minor Theater Group, which had assumed responsibility of operating the theater when Coming Attractions abruptly closed the business in February, had promised to have the theater running in time for the festival, but co-owner Merrick McKinlay said the permitting process with the city of Arcata is taking longer than expected.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

HumCPR and Betty Chinn Pitch Shipping Container Village for Palco Marshers

Posted By on Tue, Apr 12, 2016 at 5:37 PM

Chinn says the plan is to renovate shipping containers, outfitting them with two beds, windows and storage space. - WIKIPEDIA
  • Wikipedia
  • Chinn says the plan is to renovate shipping containers, outfitting them with two beds, windows and storage space.
A solution for where to send those soon to be displaced from the Palco Marsh may be on the horizon. The press release (included below) is mysterious, merely inviting the public to attend a press conference to "announce the beginning of a partnership aimed at mitigating the effects of homelessness in the community and providing a temporary safe shelter for the current residents of the Palco Marsh."

But Betty Chinn was forthcoming about the new project, which is a collaboration between her foundation and the Humboldt Coalition for Property Rights. 

"They have the money, I have the energy," she said, adding that she was approached by members of HumCPR only two weeks prior with a plan to put small shelters in the lot owned by Mercer Fraser at West Third and Commercial streets in Eureka, across from the St. Vincent de Paul free dining facility. The small shelters will be modified Connex storage containers, 14 by 8 feet, with two beds, windows and storage space. They will be open to up to 40 people to begin with and allow singles, couples, sex offenders and homeless people with dogs, all demographics excluded from current shelter housing options. Chinn added that HumCPR, the private corporation dedicated to protecting local property rights, would be taking care of the permitting process.

But an addtional hurdle remains: The Eureka City Council must add the project to its Shelter Crisis Resolution. Last week it voted 3-2 to modify the resolution to allow camping temporarily at a city-owned lot at Koster Street and to contract with St. Vincent de Paul to operate as a "warming center." Similar language will need to be added to the resolution to accommodate the joint venture between Chinn and HumCPR so it can bypass city building codes, according to City Clerk Pam Powell.

"Part of the shelter crisis resolution allows for health and safety codes to be lessened," said Powell. "Normally we wouldn’t allow these boxes without some accouterments. They still need basic lifesaving devices like smoke detectors, but they don’t need bathrooms."

The shelter crisis refers to city-owned property but, according to Powell, a workaround in which the city will lease the property from Mercer Fraser then lease it back to the Chinn-HumCPR partnership will meet these requirements.

More information about who will be supervising the site, the funders and regulations around the project should be forthcoming at tomorrow's press conference, to be held at 10 a.m. at the Betty Kwan Chinn Day Center.


From the Humboldt Coalition for Property Rights:


The Betty Kwan Chinn Homeless Foundation and Humboldt Coalition for Property Rights invite the public to a press conference at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 13, at the Betty Kwan Chinn Day Center, 133 Seventh Street in Eureka. The Betty Kwan Chinn Homeless Foundation and HUMCPR are excited to announce the beginning of a partnership aimed at mitigating the effects of homelessness in the community and providing a temporary safe shelter for the current residents of the Palco Marsh. Betty Chinn Day Center: (707) 407-3833. HUMCPR: (707) 268-8773. 

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Monday, April 11, 2016

Must, Need & Nice: Measure Z Committee Makes Its Recommendations

Posted By on Mon, Apr 11, 2016 at 3:42 PM

humboldt_county_ca_seal.jpg
The Citizen's Advisory Committee on Measure Z has finished sorting through the 43 applications it received for funding, breaking the requests up into three categories: "must," "need" and "nice." The process, which involved six meetings and a public hearing, short-listed the "musts" for inclusion in the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the budget for which will be up for approval by the Board of Supervisors on June 7. The "needs" will return for consideration during the mid-year budget review, and the "nices" will probably not see a cent of the $5.93 million generated from sales tax revenue estimated to swell the county coffers this year.

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Bullock Guilty on All Counts

Posted By on Mon, Apr 11, 2016 at 12:26 PM

Gary Lee Bullock stands next to his attorney, Kaleb Cockrum, at his arraignment in January of 2014. - PHOTO BY MARK MCKENNA
  • Photo by Mark McKenna
  • Gary Lee Bullock stands next to his attorney, Kaleb Cockrum, at his arraignment in January of 2014.
Multiple media outlets are reporting that a jury today has found Gary Lee Bullock guilty on all counts for the 2014 murder and torture of St. Bernard’s Catholic Church pastor Eric Freed.

After four days of deliberations, the jury came to the unanimous conclusion that Bullock was guilty of first degree murder, torture, residential burglary, carjacking and attempted arson stemming from the Jan. 1, 2014 slaying of Freed in the St. Bernard’s church rectory. Because Bullock has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in the case, the trial now moves to a second phase in which jurors will be asked to determine if Bullock was legally insane at the time of the killing.

According to reports, that phase will open Friday and will include testimony from three expert witnesses. If the jury finds more evidence than not supporting Bullock’s being sane at the time of the killing, he will face a sentence of life without the possibility of parole in state prison. But if the jury finds a preponderance of evidence supporting Bullock’s being insane at the time of the crimes, he will be committed indefinitely to a state mental hospital.

For more on the Bullock case, see past Journal coverage here, and for more on insanity cases in general, see our March 31 cover story, “Sanity on Trial.” And, for more on today’s verdict or Bullock’s trial, see Ryan Burns’ coverage in the Lost Coast Outpost here.
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