Sunday, August 28, 2016

HumBug: An Afternoon on the Van Duzen

Posted By on Sun, Aug 28, 2016 at 2:47 PM

Variegated meadowhawk. - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • Variegated meadowhawk.

Trying to stay up to date with the entomological fauna in my area, I went for an extended hike, braving ankle-deep waters and wading upstream from my usual haunts.
A pale-faced clubskimmer. - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • A pale-faced clubskimmer.
I saw quite a few pale-faced clubskimmers (Brechmorhoga mendax), one of my many favorite dragonflies. You usually see them flying within inches of the surface at the downstream end of large, smooth flats on the river. As fast as they are, the best I could do was set the camera for a rapid fire series of exposures and blaze away, hoping the auto focus could keep up.
The clubskimmer in action — note its reflection on the water. - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • The clubskimmer in action — note its reflection on the water.
In contrast to the medium-sized club skimmers, one of the smallest dragonflies in our area, variegated meadowhawks (Sympetrum corrupt) wait on something affording them a good vantage and dash out after smaller flying insects, often returning to the exact same place over and over again. I think the specimen I saw today was the individual I saw last week on the same snag.
Nasty little bugger that bit my foot: a tiny creeping water bug nymph. - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • Nasty little bugger that bit my foot: a tiny creeping water bug nymph.
Farther up river, something started really hurting on the top of my foot under a sandal strap. I thought it might be a bit of sand or a burr, but when I fished it out I found a tiny creeping water bug nymph. They are not known to attack humans and my foot seemed no worse for wear an hour later.
A darner in the leaves. - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • A darner in the leaves.
Near the end of the day's hike, I noted a large dragonfly acting like it was seeking a place to bed down. Darners, as a group, patrol an area and seldom land until evening. It headed into a single small bush of coyote brush. I studied the plant for several minutes, seeing nothing. As I was turning to go, like Waldo in the Where's Waldo pictures, it snapped into focus, despite the fact that it has bright blue markings and it had been hanging there in front of me all the time (genus Aeshna). 
A western river cruiser. - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • A western river cruiser.
Finally, a Western River Cruiser (Macromia magnifica), flitted by me and, like the darner before, acted as if it were seeking a place to land. I've been seeing members of this very large black and yellow species patrolling a foot or so off the ground along dirt roads for over a month now. I stood still and watched as it flitted between low branches landed. On close examination, the picture shows this one has some mileage on his wings. By the time I got home my feet were sympathetic.

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Orr Pleads in Shooting of Phillipsville Woman

Posted By on Sun, Aug 28, 2016 at 9:55 AM

A 60-year-old Southern Humboldt man faces 14 years in state prison after pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter stemming from the April 25, 2015, killing of a woman in Phillipsville.

According to a press release from the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office, Earl Orr pleaded guilty Friday to voluntary manslaughter and using a firearm to cause death, accepting responsibility for the shooting of Jessica Hare, 47, of Phillipsville. According to the release, Orr shot Hare while “drunk and belligerent” and had no memory of the killing when contacted by police.

Orr is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 22 in the case, but is in line to receive a 14-year term stipulated as a part of the plea agreement.

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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Sheriff IDs Shooters in Deadly Standoff

Posted By on Sat, Aug 27, 2016 at 3:35 PM

Fulton - FILE
  • File
  • Fulton
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office has identified the officers who shot and killed David Allan Fulton after a tense Aug. 18 standoff in McKinleyville as being from Mendocino County.

During the 17-hour standoff, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office sent an armored personnel carrier and its SWAT team north to aid its neighboring agency. It appears the Mendocino SWAT team was the one that responded when Fulton allegedly came out of his second-story apartment shooting at about 2 a.m. on Aug. 18.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office on Friday identified Humboldt County deputy James Mowrey as the officer who exchanged gunfire with Fulton shortly after 9 a.m. on Aug. 17. The office identified those involved with the fatal encounter 17 hours later as Lt. Jason Caudillo, Sgt. Joseph Comer, deputy Ze Manuel Lima and deputy Corey Bender, all from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, and Ukiah police officer Jason Chapman.

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Friday, August 26, 2016

Controversial "I Like Eureka" Logo Given New Heart

Posted By on Fri, Aug 26, 2016 at 10:44 AM

I Like Eureka: 2016 version. - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • I Like Eureka: 2016 version.
Live music? Bounce houses? Balloons? Face painting? Emergency management training? Sounds like quite a time at next month's Neighborhood Watch Block Party! But, wait, what's that in the far right corner of this jam-packed flyer? Yes, it's the latest iteration of the "I Like Eureka" campaign, now tinted a badge-proud blue and festooned with a tiny little heart. 

Almost exactly a year ago, Eureka's Neighborhood Watch organization began printing its own stickers with the timid motto "I Like Eureka," capitalizing on what had formerly been an underground campaign of anonymous sticker bombing. The black and white bumper stickers began to appear on the backs of squad cars and on t-shirts at public safety rallies, with profits from the sale of said stickers going to benefit Neighborhood Watch. (For a more complete history of the slogan and its original, anonymous promoters, "The Westside Sanguine Society," check out this article.)

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

An Apology to Our Readers

Posted By on Thu, Aug 25, 2016 at 2:04 PM

Last week, an ad produced by Living Styles Furniture Design ran in our pages with an image of a woman carrying a mattress. That photograph, by Andrew Burton, used out of context and without permission from the photographer or Getty Images, was of Emma Sulkowicz, the Columbia University student who carried her mattress to and from classes to protest the university's handling of her sexual assault allegations.

The ad came to us camera ready, meaning that the advertiser designed it, not our production staff. Unfortunately, no one on our advertising or production staffs recognized the image and the editorial department did not see the advertisement until it appeared in print. At that point, horrified, we immediately yanked it from our website.

Living Styles, whose owner Rick Breen expressed mortification at learning the context of the image, has been informed and we are assured nothing like this will happen again. The business is issuing a formal apology in the Journal next week. We are also taking steps to ensure that all our advertisers understand our policy on copyrighted images.

The content of the paper, be it editorial or advertising, is ultimately our responsibility. We regret running the image at all and apologize for any hurt or offense it may have caused. The North Coast Journal takes sexual assault very seriously, as we hope our past and continuing coverage shows, and the same goes for copyright law.

Thadeus Greenson and Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
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Three Skilled Nursing Facilities May Close

Posted By on Thu, Aug 25, 2016 at 1:31 PM

  • File
Rockport Healthcare Services, the management company for five of Humboldt County's six skilled nursing facilities, announced today that they have filed relocation notices for three sites: Pacific, Seaview, and Eureka Rehabilitation and Wellness Centers. The relocation notices, filed with the California Department of Public Health, are the first step in closing these facilities, which collectively contain 258 beds, and relocating their patients.

Stefan Friedman, spokesperson for Rockport, said in a statement that the company is continuing to work with community partners to "find a solution to [a] severe staffing crisis," but it is possible that after public health approves their relocation notice they will shut down the faciltiies.

That, said Area 1 Agency on Aging ombudsman Suzi Fregeau, would be "catastrophic."

Although many patients stay only briefly in skilled nursing facilities, receiving rehabilitation after leaving the hospital, the facilities are often the last stop for patients who cannot afford in-home healthcare professionals and need 24-hour care. Their vital role in the continuum of care was felt last year, when the facilities — five of which are owned by the same company, Brius Healthcare — stopped accepting patients. Hospital administrators, hospice workers and families all felt the pinch, and many North Coast residents had to go to facilities far away from Humboldt County. Fregeau said the potential closure will be even worse.

"It means that residents are going to be placed in facilities a minimum of 150 miles away," she said. "People are going to be dying in communities they’ve never lived in."

Last week, Rockport confirmed that the company has been unable to recruit qualified local nursing staff to meet the requirements of such facilities. California requires at least 3.2 hours of total nursing time per patient per day. The shortage of skilled medical staff is a countywide problem, affecting even the tiny eight-bed Jerold Phelps, in Garberville. Matt Rees, CEO of Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District, confirmed that, even after raising wages, the facility has had trouble recruiting staff.

"When Humboldt State (University) shut their nursing program down, it really hurt our area," he said in a phone interview. "We need more nurses, more CNAs, more clinical lab scientists, just more certified people in the healthcare industry."

Rockport spent $5 million last year to bring in staff from outside the region, a practice it says is "not financially sustainabile."

In its press release, the company said it "remain[s] hopeful that [it]can avoid these measures."

When the relocation process begins, the company says it will "reach out to individual patients and their families to ensure every displaced patient is placed in a California skilled nursing facility."

"The staff employed by these facilities work incredibly hard every day," the release continues. "Each and every one of them would be offered employment with one of the buildings to which Rockport provides professional services at Granada or Fortuna. This is a painful possibility for all involved. We will continue to meet with any and all partners to develop alternative resolutions as we simultaneously prepare for this scenario."

What those alternative resolutions may be — a community buy in, a nonprofit, a financial bailout — is unclear. 

Humboldt County First District Supervisor Rex Bohn has been in meetings with the Rockport and other county officials to discuss the potential closures.

“The operators have assured me that they will work with families and DHHS to place all individuals, if not locally, to facilities in California, said Bohn in an email. “If this issue passes they will be 1st to move back when/if facilities reopen. All remaining staff have employment opportunities at the still open local facilities.”

Fourth District Supervisor Virginia Bass, also reached by email, added that she was “disappointed” that the company appeared to have settled on closing three facilities.

“Conversations are ongoing and that the number of closures could change,” she said.

Editor's Note: This article originally misstated the amount of nursing hours per patient per day required by the state of California. The correct amount is 3.2 hours, not 3.8. It has also been updated to include quotes from Bohn and Bass.
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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Murder Arrest Made in 2015 Garberville Beating Death

Posted By on Wed, Aug 24, 2016 at 5:45 PM

  • Preschern
More than a year since a Georgia man died after being severely beaten in Garberville, police have arrested someone for his murder.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office announced today that Raymond Earl Preschern was extradited from Oregon on a warrant for the murder of Khanh Lam and booked into the local jail on Aug. 19.

On July 18, 2015, sheriff’s deputies were called to Garberville’s Jerold Phelps Community Hospital where Lam was in critical condition, unconscious from a possible assault. Through their investigation, deputies learned Lam, 37, had been involved in an argument with a female in downtown Garberville after attempting to remove a child from her car. During the argument, four men allegedly confronted Lam, who took off running. The men, who had dogs with them, gave chase, according to the sheriff’s office.

“At some point during this incident it was reported by a witness that Lam possibly fell while he was running and received a head injury from falling to the ground,” a sheriff’s office press release that followed the incident stated, adding that witnesses called 911 after finding Lam lying unconscious in the 700 block of Locust Street. Lam was transported out of the area to be treated for a brain injury but was ultimately taken off life support by his family.

A forensic pathologist ultimately determined that Lam died of blunt force trauma that was inconsistent with a fall, morphing the investigation into a homicide case. It’s unclear at this point what led detectives to Preschern.

See the full press release from the sheriff’s office copied below:

Ramey Warrant Arrest - Case 201503461

On July 6, 2016 Raymond Earl Preschern was arrested by the Portland Bureau of Police in Oregon on a Humboldt County Superior Court Ramey warrant for the murder of Khanh Lam. Preschern was extradited and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on Friday, August 19, 2016.
The investigation is ongoing. 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.
Previous (7/28/15):
On Saturday, July 25, 2015 an autopsy was performed on Lam’s body at the Humboldt County Coroner’s Office by a Forensic Pathologist. The results of the autopsy were Lam’s injuries were not consistent with a fall, as previously reported by witnesses. Cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma to the head. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office is investigating Lam’s death as a homicide.
Previous (7/20/15):
On Saturday, July 18, 2015 at 12:48 p.m. a Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Deputy responded to Jerold Phelps Community Hospital in Garberville, regarding a possible male assault victim, who had arrived at the hospital by ambulance. Hospital staff told the deputy that the male victim, who had been identified as 37 year old Khanh Lam was unconscious with a severe head injury and was in critical condition. Lam was flown to an out of area hospital for treatment, because of his injuries.
Deputies and CHP Officers then responded to a possible location where Lam was injured, which was located in the 700 block of Locust Street, Garberville. Deputies spoke to witnesses who reported that Lam was involved in an argument with a female subject and attempted to remove her child from a car. At some point during the argument (4) four males subjects confronted Lam. According to the witnesses Lam took off running and the (4) male subjects, along with their dogs started to pursue Lam on foot. At some point during this incident it was reported by a witness that Lam possibly fell while he was running and received a head injury from falling to the ground. When witnesses found Lam lying on the ground unconscious they dialed 9-1-1.
On Sunday, July 19, 2015 at about 5:00 p.m. a medical doctor informed the Sheriff’s Office that Lam is currently on life support and has no brain activity. Lam’s family has been notified and is consulting with medical staff on their decision to take Lam off life support. Lam is from Atlanta, Georgia.
The Sheriff’s Office is considering this a suspicious death investigation and is asking for the public’s help if anyone witnessed this incident. They are encouraged to call the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office or Detective Jennifer Turner at 707-268-3642.
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.

Mike Downey, Sheriff

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Huffman's Flag Ban Rises from the Ashes

Posted By on Wed, Aug 24, 2016 at 12:54 PM

The Department of Veterans' Affairs announced yesterday that it will ban the flying of Confederate flags in national cemeteries. The announcement comes exactly two months after House Republicans voted to remove legislation sponsored by Representative Jared Huffman that would accomplish similar a similar end from a VA appropriations bill. 

The new policy set forth by the VA will not restrict the placement of Confederate flags on individual graves, but it will prohibit the controversial symbol from being flown on flagpoles above cemeteries. Rep. Keith Ellison, who joined Huffman in urging the VA to amend their policy, referred to the Confederate flag as a "symbol of treason" as well as racism.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

SoHum Homicide Victim Identified

Posted By on Tue, Aug 23, 2016 at 5:05 PM

Stephanie Gawboy - FACEBOOK
  • Facebook
  • Stephanie Gawboy
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed the identity of the victim of last week’s homicide as 52-year old Stephanie Faye Gawboy of Redway. Gawboy’s identity has been public knowledge from almost the date of her death, as an employee of KMUD radio apparently found her body then gave an interview on air about the incident.

The employee, Jordan Jumpshot, described visiting Gawboy’s house in the early morning, as he occasionally stayed and showered there. He said her gate was ajar and her door open, which was unusual. Gawboy, a masseuse, was lying facedown on her massage table in an unusual position. He touched Gawboy’s leg and found it cold to the touch.

“I thought, ‘This is a massage dummy.' I looked over on her side of the room to see if it was a joke. Then I saw there was blood on both sides of her neck, running in a straight line on either side of the table.”

Jumpshot said he left, got a cup of coffee and went to the KMUD studio, where he told his employer and Gawboy’s neighbor, Jeannette Todd, that something bad had happened. Todd said in the interview that she called 911 and, while on hold, drove to Gawboy’s house with Jumpshot. The two were present when a sheriff's deputy and deputy coroner arrived.

Despite rumors of a potential suspect, sheriff's detective Jenn Turner said no suspect has been identified in the case. Turner said she's received dozens of tips in the case but is especially looking to speak with anyone who had contact with Gawboy after Friday, Aug. 12.

An Aug. 22 article in the Redwood Times describes Gawboy as a an outspoken environmentalist, and a leader in the local anti-vaccine and anti-genetically modified food movement.

From the HCSO press release:

Sheriff’s Detectives are investigating this incident as a homicide. Anyone with information in regards to this case is encouraged to call Detective Jenn Turner at (707) 268-3642 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at (707) 268-2539.

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Into and Out of the Theater Business

Posted By on Mon, Aug 22, 2016 at 12:07 PM

  • From the Ming Tree website

Looking to manage a marquee? Here's your chance. The Arcata Theatre Lounge is on the market for a cool $1.85 million via Ming Tree Realtors. The revamped Art Deco venue has been listed for a week and includes shops rented by Bluegrass Barber and Smug's pizza. 

Over the phone last week, Lara Cox, who owns the theater with her husband Brian, said, "We've done this, we've devoted 11 years of our lives to the theater and it's been awesome … but we're just ready to do something different at this point." That something else may be a project in Humboldt but Cox is tight-lipped about what. There's "nothing we love so much as a project," she said. 

And the ATL's renovation has been that. Cox said that, over the course of five years of working with the city, the pipes, electricity, sound, lighting and kitchen, among other things, have all been updated and brought to code and ADA standards. Given the investment, as well as the business, equipment and liquor license, Cox said with a deep breath, "We feel good about the price. The hardest part of this decision is that we have so many loyal customers and the community has been awesome … it's bittersweet."

Don't panic over where to get your B-movie and pizza fix just yet. Until a buyer steps up, Cox said, it's business as usual. 
McKinlay and Neff in the Minor lobby during renovations. - FILE
  • File
  • McKinlay and Neff in the Minor lobby during renovations.

Meanwhile, a crumpled popcorn bag's throw away, the Minor Theater is on the cusp of opening its doors again. Business partners Josh Neff and Merrick McKinlay have set the date for a Sept. 16 red carpet premiere. (See the Journal's cover story on the purchase and renovation here.) 

After going back and forth with the city over whether the business should be considered a theater or a lounge, like the ATL, Neff and McKinlay have managed to secure permission for their set-up, including an expanded concessions stand stocked with Slice of Humboldt Pie, Smug's, beer and wine. Add to that an ADA-compliant automatic door and an upgraded fire safety system that includes alarms for each theater. 

Neff and McKinlay are finalizing the schedule for opening night and weekend but, so far, it's set to play like a local film fest with short films from the likes of Steven Vander Meer and Violet Crabtree, with locally filmed 1970s schlock homage The Love Witch scheduled later in the fall. 

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