Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Redway Man Killed in ATV Accident

Posted By on Wed, May 31, 2017 at 5:12 PM

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A Redway man was found dead this morning from injuries he suffered in an ATV accident on an unmarked trail south of Briceland Road.

A group of concerned residents located the body of David J. Dresser, 59, trapped under the vehicle after searching in the area where he was last known to be, according to a California Highway Patrol press release.

It’s unclear how long Dresser had been missing. His death remains under investigation by CHP and it’s unknown if drugs or alcohol played a role in the crash.

Read the full CHP release below:
At an unknown time, between the Saturday May 27, 2017 and the morning of Wednesday May 31, 2017, David J. Dresser of Redway, CA was driving a 2005 Yamaha ATV east on an unmarked Jeep trail approximately one quarter mile west of Barley Road and south of Briceland Road. For reasons still under investigation, the ATV overturned and Dresser was ejected. The ATV came to rest on its right side and Dresser was trapped underneath the ATV. Dresser was located, deceased, on the morning of Wednesday May 31 at approximately 7:30 am by local concerned citizens who were actively searching the area where he was last known to be.

Agencies who assisted with the investigation include: Southern Humboldt Tech Rescue, Briceland Volunteer Fire Department, Humboldt County Sheriff Department and the California Highway Patrol.

This collision remains under investigation by the California Highway Patrol. At this time, it is unknown if drugs or alcohol were a factor in this collision.

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Hello, My Name is: Humboldt's Flying Squirrel

Posted By on Wed, May 31, 2017 at 11:20 AM

Humboldt's flying squirrel gnawing a delicious pen cap (not its natural diet). - PHOTO BY NATHAN ALEXANDER
  • Photo by Nathan Alexander
  • Humboldt's flying squirrel gnawing a delicious pen cap (not its natural diet).
Say hello to Humboldt's flying squirrel, formerly known as the northern flying squirrel. Look into his black, marble-like eyes. Look at them. Smaller and darker than the northern variety, with which they share some territory, these little gliders have just been classified as a new species and named for our county's namesake, naturalist Alexander von Humboldt.

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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Huffman Town Hall Coming to Garberville

Posted By on Sat, May 27, 2017 at 2:06 PM

Congressman Huffman at his town hall in Arcata. - BEAU SAUNDERS
  • Beau Saunders
  • Congressman Huffman at his town hall in Arcata.
Congressman Jared Huffman is taking the next segment of his town hall tour to Garberville on May 31 after drawing large crowds up and down California’s 2nd District in the wake of President Donald Trump’s election.

According to a release from his office, Huffman will “discuss how to make forward progress in today’s political climate” and “answer questions and share his plans and priorities for best representing California’s North Coast in Congress.”


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Friday, May 26, 2017

Judge Denies Skilled Nursing Defendants' Change of Venue Bid

Posted By on Fri, May 26, 2017 at 3:50 PM

Shlomo Rechnitz - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE SACARAMENTO BEE / PAUL KITAGAKI JR.
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF THE SACARAMENTO BEE / PAUL KITAGAKI JR.
  • Shlomo Rechnitz
Judge Timothy Cissna denied skilled nursing magnate Shlomo Rechnitz’s request for a change of venue in a wrongful death and elder abuse lawsuit following a short hearing today, rejecting claims that he couldn’t get a fair trial in Humboldt County.

Cissna said the case should be tried locally because it involves a substantial personal injury that occurred in Humboldt County and a recently named defendant lives in the area.

The judge also dismissed arguments made in the change of venue motion that contended “negative news articles” would taint the local jury pool, saying there hadn’t been a showing of “undue prejudice.”

The civil case before the judge — one of three currently pending against Rechnitz and the skilled nursing facilities he owns in Humboldt County — alleges low staffing levels at Seaview Rehabilitation and Wellness Center contributed to the death of Ralph Sorensen. The 76 year old died in January of 2016 from complications related to an infected pressure ulcer.

Seaview, Rechnitz, Brius and administrative services company Rockport are named in the lawsuit. (Read more about the case here.)

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Fiery Crash Involving Local Family Kills Two, Several Injured

Posted By on Fri, May 26, 2017 at 11:01 AM

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Two people were killed, including a Eureka man, and several other members of a local family were injured in a fiery collision just after midnight on U.S. Highway 101 north of Willits. But a Good Samaritan pulled five injured passengers from the wreckage just before both vehicles burst into flames.

Three Eureka residents — identified as 43-year-old Rosa Delgado, 24-year-old Gilberto Delgado and 19-year-old Anajelica Delgado — suffered major injuries. Two children, a 1-year-old Eureka girl and a 7-year-old boy from Fortuna, received minor injuries in the head-on crash that killed both drivers, who were trapped inside as the vehicles became engulfed in flames.

A motorist who came upon the crash scene was able to get all of the passengers out of the 2008 Dodge Ram pickup that was hit when the driver of a 1994 Ford Bronco crossed over into its path, according to a California Highway Patrol release.

Neither driver has been identified. The CHP is investigating the fatal incident and reports that impaired driving may have been a factor in the crash.

Read the full release from the CHP below:
On 05-26-17, at approximately 12:30 A.M., a 1994 Ford Bronco was driving north on US-101, north of Reynolds Highway in Mendocino County. For unknown reasons, the Ford made a turning movement to the left and crossed over the double yellow lines, proceeding into the southbound traffic lane. At the same time, a 2008 Dodge Ram pickup was driving south on US-101, north of Reynolds Highway in Mendocino County. The Ford crossed into the opposing traffic lane right in front of the Dodge and the two vehicles collided head on. Both vehicles came to rest within the southbound and northbound traffic lanes and caught fire. The Dodge had five passengers inside, not including the driver. The drivers became trapped within the driver seats of their respective vehicles as a result of the collision.

Immediately after the collision, a Good Samaritan came upon the scene and got out of his vehicle in order to see if everyone was okay. He quickly realized that the fire was spreading and began to extricate everyone that he could from the Dodge. Due to his quick thinking and expediency, all five passengers from the Dodge were safely rescued from the vehicle. Unfortunately, the driver (identity being withheld pending family notification) was trapped in the driver seat as the Dodge became fully engulfed and suffered fatal injuries. The driver of the Ford (identity being withheld pending family notification) was also trapped and was not extricated before his vehicle became engulfed as well, and he suffered fatal injuries.

All injured parties were transported by ambulances from Ukiah, Willits and Laytonville to area hospitals. Personnel from Little Lake Fire Department, Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, Willits Police Department, Verihealth, Laytonville Fire Department and Ukiah CHP assisted with the control of, and the investigation of, the collision scene. This collision remains under investigation by the Garberville CHP.

At this time, the cause of this collision is under investigation and it appears impaired driving may have been a factor as well. 
Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the number of passengers.
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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

CDCR: Pelican Bay Inmates Shot After Attacking Staff; Several Injured

Posted By on Wed, May 24, 2017 at 4:08 PM

One of Pelican Bay's 11 perimeter guard towers. - FILE
  • File
  • One of Pelican Bay's 11 perimeter guard towers.
Pelican Bay State Prison officers opened fire on a group of inmates who allegedly attacked staff members trying to break up a fistfight this morning, sending five to the hospital with gunshot wounds, according to a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation press release.

Eight staff members were also hurt and two remained hospitalized, the CDCR reports.Their injuries were described as “significant but not life-threatening” and the release states “they are expected to be released soon.”

A Deadly Force Investigations Team from the corrections department has been sent to the prison to conduct a criminal and administrative investigation into the use of deadly force. The Office of the Inspector General was notified and the CDCR states investigators from the Office of Correctional Safety are also being sent to the Crescent City prison known for housing some of the state’s most notorious prisoners.

Several Pelican Bay prisoners helped trigger a 2013 prison hunger strike that brought national attention to solitary confinement practices in the state.

Read the full release from the CDCR below:
CRESCENT CITY ― Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) officials are investigating an incident that sent eight officers to the hospital with injuries.

At 10:25 a.m. today, custody staff responded to a fistfight between two inmates on the B Facility maximum-security general population yard. Responding staff used chemical agents and batons to subdue the inmates; however, they refused to stop fighting.

As staff continued to try to subdue the two inmates, large groups of inmates from various areas of the yard ran toward the incident. The officers were overwhelmed as the inmates started attacking them. Officers from three armed posts used lethal force to stop the attacks firing a total of 19 .223 rounds from the mini-14 rifle and three 40-millimeter direct impact rounds.

Two inmate-made weapons were recovered; however, it does not appear at this time they were used in the attack.

Eight staff members were taken to an outside hospital with injuries. Six were treated and released and two are still hospitalized. Their injuries are significant but not life-threatening and they are expected to be released soon.

Seven inmates were also taken to outside hospitals, five of them for treatment of gunshot wounds.
PBSP officials have limited inmate movement throughout the entire institution to facilitate their investigation and they rehoused 97 inmates in the Administrative Segregation Unit.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation sent a Deadly Force Investigations Team to the prison to conduct the criminal and administrative investigation into the use of deadly force. CDCR is also sending investigators from its Office of Correctional Safety. The Office of the Inspector General was notified.

The Peer Support Program was activated. The program ensures CDCR employees involved in work-related critical incidents are provided with intervention and resources to cope with the traumatic effects.
PBSP, located in Del Norte County, is comprised of two maximum-security facilities, two security housing unit facilities, a minimum-support facility and a short-term restricted housing unit. The prison provides treatment for mentally ill inmates and provides work, academic, career technical education, self-help and other rehabilitative programs. PBSP also has a firehouse with eight fulltime inmate firefighters. PBSP opened in 1989, currently houses approximately 2,000 inmates and employs approximately 1,300 people.


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Monday, May 22, 2017

Gov Taps Elvine-Kreis as Humboldt's Next Judge

Posted By on Mon, May 22, 2017 at 4:28 PM

Elvine-Kreis
  • Elvine-Kreis
Humboldt County will soon have a new superior court judge.

Gov. Jerry Brown announced this afternoon that he has appointed Conflict Counsel Greg Elvine-Kreis to the judicial seat vacated by Bruce Watson’s retirement in January of 2016. While Watson's term ended at the beginning of this year, Elvine-Kreis' will run until January of 2019, meaning he will have to be elected in 2018 to retain the position, according to the governor's office. Judges are typically elected to six-year terms.

Elvine-Kreis, who has practiced law for about 14 years, filled the role of interim public defender after Kevin Robinson’s retirement and is widely respected in the county courthouse. The 47-year-old graduate of University of San Diego School of Law is a Humboldt State University alum and has worked locally since 2010, when he was hired on as a deputy public defender.

Reached this afternoon, Elvine-Kreis said he’s excited to take on the new post, which will see him start in the family law division, where he expects to stay for three years.

“I think it’ll be great,” he said. “It’s going to be exciting to relearn a new area of law and I think it’s going to be challenging, which I’m excited about, too.”

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No Foul Play Suspected in Death of Massachusetts Man

Posted By on Mon, May 22, 2017 at 12:18 PM

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The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office said no foul play is suspect in the death of a 44-year-old Massachusetts man found on the bank of the South Fork of the Eel River over the weekend.

According to a press release, Eric Christian Mineau, whose body was located near the base of a Garberville cliff, sustained injuries that were consistent with a fall. An autopsy has been scheduled.

Read the full release from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office below:
On Saturday, May 20, 2017 at about 1548 hours, The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a deceased male on the river bank of the South Fork of the Eel River. The body was located at the base of a cliff between the Sprowel Creek Bridge and the Bear Canyon Bridge in Garberville. No foul play is suspected at this time. The victim’s injuries are consistent with a fall and an autopsy has been scheduled.
The deceased subject has been positively identified as Eric Christian Mineau, age 44, of Pittsfield, MA.
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, May 20, 2017

Arcata Moves Forward With Sanctuary City Status

Posted By on Sat, May 20, 2017 at 11:56 AM

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The Arcata City Council took the first steps toward becoming a sanctuary city this week in a reversal of position from one month ago when a divided board stopped just short of the declaration.

After the 4-1 vote on May 16, Councilmember Michael Winkler stated he supported the body of the ordinance but cast his dissenting vote due to fears the specific wording of sanctuary city would “put a weapon in Trump’s hands.”

He emphasized that he was adamantly opposed to the “fascist (President Donald) Trump regime and all its immigration policies and many other policies.”

“I don’t want to give them the power to punish us and the people of Arcata,” Winkler said.


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Friday, May 19, 2017

No Homeless People in Southern Humboldt?

Posted By on Fri, May 19, 2017 at 6:44 PM

The Humboldt Housing and Homeless Coalition has sent out a press release with information about the most recent Point in Time Count, which took place in late February. The press release charts a general decrease in homeless people tallied across the county, dipping from 1,180 to 618 in t
A notice posted near a homeless camp on U.S. Highway 101 near Garberville telling people to be out by Feb. 27, the date of the Point in Time Count. - DEBRA CAREY
  • Debra Carey
  • A notice posted near a homeless camp on U.S. Highway 101 near Garberville telling people to be out by Feb. 27, the date of the Point in Time Count.
he last two years, a drop of around 40 percent. Homeless residents in communities from Garberville to Willow Creek were interviewed by volunteers on one day, Feb. 27, in an attempt to document  "the number of sheltered and unsheltered homeless people on a single night during the winter."

But the accuracy of the count is a matter of debate. According to the press release itself, it is "not a scientific survey" and a dearth of volunteers for the count may have contributed to lower numbers.

Sally Hewitt, chair of the HHHC, told the Journal that the count got off to a rough start when the original proposed methodology — counting folks in the early morning — was turned down by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. (The count is a HUD requirement.) HUD told HHHC that if they just wanted to get a pure head count, it would have to be done as folks bedded down at night, between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m., a methodology Hewitt said was impractical in the land of "Bigfoot and marijuana grows."

So instead, volunteers visited camps and other areas where homeless folks stay during the day with a more complicated survey system that due to timing, the small number of volunteers and the length of the survey, may have counted fewer people than are truly living outdoors in Humboldt County.

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