Tuesday, August 8, 2017

DA Clears EPD in Hospital Death

Posted By on Tue, Aug 8, 2017 at 5:33 PM

  • FILE
The Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office has reviewed the circumstances surrounding the April 2, 2016 death of Jeremy Jenkins and found that EPD personnel did not contribute to the cause of his death.

Police were called to Spring Street at 1:25 p.m. that day to a report of a man “rolling around on the ground,” and arrived to find Jenkins on the sidewalk. When an officer contacted Jenkins, he reported told him he’d just smoked “$40 of meth,” according to a DA’s press release. Jenkins was then transported to St. Joseph Hospital, where he died.

A forensic pathologist determined Jenkins’ cause of death to be “excited delirium” due to “acute methapmetamine intoxication.” Jenkins was 33.

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Monday, August 7, 2017

DOJ Investigator Heading to Town in Public Administrator Probe

Posted By on Mon, Aug 7, 2017 at 3:31 PM

Humboldt County District Attorney Maggie Fleming. - SUBMITTED PHOTO
  • Submitted photo
  • Humboldt County District Attorney Maggie Fleming.
A representative from the California Department of Justice is expected to arrive in Eureka this week to take over an investigation into possible wrongdoing involving the management of estates overseen by the county’s Public Administrator’s Office.

District Attorney Maggie Fleming says she was notified by phone Aug. 3 of the state’s decision to run the probe, which is looking into whether current and former county employees violated the law by purchasing cars and other items from the estates.

“Other than answering any questions they may have, we will have no role in the investigation,” Fleming writes in an email to the Journal. “We will also have no involvement in charging decisions or any prosecution.”

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Saturday, August 5, 2017

UPDATE: PenAir Dropping Humboldt Route, Effective Monday

Posted By on Sat, Aug 5, 2017 at 12:40 PM

  • Wikipedia
UPDATE: Just a few days after word came that PenAir was pulling out of Humboldt, the airline announced today that the company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and is looking to end its Crescent City flights.

Humboldt County will be back down to one airline option at the end of the day while our neighbor to the north will be left with none if PenAir receives permission from the federal Department of Transportation to terminate what’s known as “Essential Air Service” to the Del Norte County airport.

The EAS program subsidizes airlines to operate in small communities that would otherwise not receive service.

“The steps we are taking today will allow PenAir to emerge as a stronger airline, while continuing our focus on safe operations,” said PenAir CEO and Chairman Danny Seybert in a press release.

PREVIOUSLY: Once again, United is the last airline standing in Humboldt County.

PenAir announced quietly yesterday that it is shuttering its northwest route that included flights from Humboldt to Portland, effective almost immediately, with the airline's final flights leaving the airport in McKinleyville on Monday.

The airline, which came to Humboldt about a year and a half ago amid much fanfare and some apparently irrational confidence, scaled back the number of flights it was scheduling in and out of the California Redwood Coast-Humboldt County Airport back in March, which was the first sign the new route was in trouble.

“The steps we are taking with closing Portland area routes will allow PenAir to cut costs, while management continues its focus on financial stability and safe operations,” PenAir CEO and Chair Danny Seybert said in a press release.

The airline hasn’t specified what will happen to folks who have purchased tickets into or out of the local airport after Aug. 8, but said they should contact the airline at (800) 448-4226. (When the Journal called this number Saturday, it just rang and rang with no answer.) The airline’s Crescent City to Portland route will remain in operation.

The shuttering of the route represents a relatively stunning turn of events for the company, which opened it without demanding a minimum revenue guarantee — the promised revenues that airports in small areas generally offer to airlines should they companies be unable to fill seats as projected — which have become a staple of modern airport-airline negotiations. The company was also so enthused by early ridership numbers that it added a third flight to its daily schedule, though it was forced to reverse that move earlier this year.

The move also leaves United, which also recently scaled back its number of flights in and out of Humboldt County, as the only airline servicing Humboldt County once again.

It’s not immediately known how many local employees PenAir has and what this means for them.

See the full press release from PenAir below and for more on Humboldt County’s ongoing struggles to expand local air service, see past Journal coverage here.

Alaska-based PenAir cancels Pacific Northwest area air service
Effective Tuesday, August 8, 2017, PenAir will cease operations of all non-EAS routes in the Pacific Northwest. This includes air travel on PenAir between Portland and Redding, Eureka/Arcata, North Bend/Coos Bay or Klamath Falls. The last scheduled flights in and out of Portland will be Monday, August 7. Flights operated by PenAir between Portland and Crescent City will continue as scheduled.
“The steps we are taking with closing Portland area routes will allow PenAir to cut costs, while management continues its focus on financial stability and safe operations,” said PenAir CEO and Chairman Danny Seybert.
PenAir flies to eight destinations within Alaska, as well as the Denver and Boston areas. Passengers on all other routes can expect continued operations with no changes to flight times or services.
Passengers scheduled to fly out of the Portland markets after August 7, may contact the airline at 800-448-4226.
About PenAir - PenAir, founded in 1955 by Orin Seybert in Pilot Point, Alaska, is one of the oldest family-owned airlines in the United States. The airline is also one of the largest regional airlines in Alaska and the Northeast U.S., and one of the largest operators of Saab 340 aircraft in the US. System-wide. PenAir has 700 employees and serves 25 destinations.

Press release from PenAir:
Alaska-based PenAir has filed for Chapter 11 reorganization with the state of Alaska. This action will not affect scheduled air service operations in Alaska or Boston. PenAir’s Portland, Oregon and Denver, Colorado hubs will begin the process of closing scheduled service over the next 90 days.
“The steps we are taking today will allow PenAir to emerge as a stronger airline, while continuing our focus on safe operations,” said PenAir CEO and Chairman Danny Seybert. “We will be working with a restructuring officer to present a reorganization plan that will allow the management team to focus on our employees, safe operations, retiring debt and taking care of our customers.”
PenAir recently announced the termination of the Portland-area regional routes as part of an immediate cost-cutting plan in the Pacific Northwest. All, but the essential Air Service (EAS) route between Portland and Crescent City, California, will be shut down effective close of business on Monday, August 7. This impacts scheduled flight operations between Portland and Klamath Falls and North Bend/Coos Bay, Oregon and Redding and Eureka/Arcata, California.
Today, PenAir announced the additional closing the Denver hub pending approval from the Department of Transportation.
PenAir is filing a request with the DOT to end EAS routes between Crescent City, CA and Portland and all regional routes served from its Denver hub. This will impact EAS routes operating between Denver and Liberal and Dodge City, Kansas and North Platt, Kearney and Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Once approved, this transition usually takes 30 to 90 days until a new carrier can be secured in the market.
PenAir serves eight destinations within Alaska, including Dutch Harbor, Cold Bay, Sand Point, King Salmon, Dillingham, St. Paul, St. George and McGrath; and three routes in the Boston area including Bar Harbor and Presque Isle, Maine and Plattsburgh, New York. Passengers in both the Alaska and Boston markets can expect continued operations with no changes to scheduled flight service. Employees in these markets will play a critical role in the reorganization process.
“Our employees are a key part of our success, and we are doing everything we can to keep our PenAir family intact,” said Seybert.
Passengers scheduled to fly out of the Portland market may contact the airline their travel was originally booked on, or PenAir at 800-448-4226.

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Friday, August 4, 2017

Mary Beth Wolford, former Eureka councilwoman, dies at 85

Posted By on Fri, Aug 4, 2017 at 12:36 PM

Mary Beth Wolford
  • Mary Beth Wolford
Mary Beth Wolford, a longtime educator and former Eureka city councilmember who “retired” to Humboldt County in the late 1990s only to immerse herself in a number of civic endeavors, has died. She was 85.

According to her obituary on the Lost Coast Outpost, Wolford died July 29 in Fairfield, where she moved in 2013 to be closer to family.

“I’ll really miss her,” said 4th District Supervisor Virginia Bass, who served with Wolford on the council. “She was a real gem. She gave a lot to every community she lived in.”

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UPDATED: Security Guard Shoots, Kills One

Posted By on Fri, Aug 4, 2017 at 12:20 PM

  • FILE
UPDATE: The man shot has been identified as Herbert Macias, 56, of Eureka. EPD Capt. Brian Stephens confirms that more details about the case may be released after interviews have been completed. The name of the shooter and the security firm for whom he or she works has not yet been released.


The Eureka Police Department reports that one man is dead after an apparent confrontation with an armed, on-duty, security guard in the alley behind the Shell gas station at 5th and N streets in Eureka.

No names have been released, but according to EPD's press release, prepared by Capt. Brian Stephens, officers responded at 8:14 p.m. last night to find a man with gunshot wounds to his torso. The man had allegedly confronted the security guard and attempted to stab him, whereupon the guard fired his weapon. The man succumbed to his injuries after being transported to the hospital.

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Thursday, August 3, 2017

TL;DR: How Andrew Mills Barely Escaped Humboldt

Posted By on Thu, Aug 3, 2017 at 10:31 AM


In case you missed it, Humboldt County bid former Eureka Police Chief Andrew Mills adieu last week. We offered a handful of stories looking at his tenure in town and what’s next for EPD. We encourage you to take a few minutes to look at the coverage and weigh in. But there are also a few things we weren’t able to squeeze into last week’s edition, like the five times Humboldt County almost killed Andrew Mills. Here's the rundown:

When he got lost in community forest: “One of the things I’ve learned: Chiefs of police can get lost in the woods, too, and your little iPhone compass doesn’t work when you can’t get cell reception,” Mills told a Times-Standard reporter, less than a week into his new job in 2013, confessing that a job in Arcata’s Community Forest turned a bit tense before he found his way out.

When he got swept off the jetty: On Nov. 5, 2016, Mills decided to walk out onto the jetty to take pictures of large waves sweeping in. The National Weather Advisory had warned of 19- to 22-foot waves over the weekend and asked people to “stay safe … by staying farther back from the surf and off the rocks and jetties.” It’s a frequent warning on the North Coast, and one that Mills apparently missed. In the blink of an eye, a wave smashed him and left him holding onto the jetty rocks for dear life. Luckily, after being pummeled by a few waves, Mills was able to get back to his feet and back to his car, having lost only some skin off his knees, his cell phone and a bit of confidence. “The real thing is, compared to the power of nature, we are insignificant,” he told the Journal a few days later.

When he jumped into a sewage pit at the PalCo Marsh: While talking with some homeless men camping in the PalCo Marsh, Mills jumped off a concrete slab onto what he thought was solid ground only to find it was, in fact, a deep pit of stagnant water and human waste. The horrified men rushed to help the chief, who was “up to his armpits” in sewage, out of the pit. Mills described himself as mad but he somehow managed to avoid death by E Coli infection.

When he unwittingly waded into a Second Amendment gauntlet: Frustrated by the high rates at which firearms were being stolen in Eureka — and the higher rates at which his officers were finding them in the hands of felons and criminals — the police chief proposed a local gun control ordinance. Tepid by lefty standards, the ordinance would have only required gun owners to make sure their firearms were secured and locked up when left unattended in their homes or businesses. But within moments of its announcement, Mills was dogpiled by a virtual mountain of Second Amendment enthusiasts, like Robert Wenzel, who posted the following on the Journal’s website: “Maybe Mills should move to San Franfreakshow. This is just another waste of taxpayer dollars that accomplishes nothing except add further restrictions to personal liberty. Good to know that Mills is another Kalifornia libtard politician.” Frustrated and battered, Mills withdrew the proposal less than a week after its announcement, saying his department would focus instead on “education.”

When officers unloaded 43 shots downtown: We may be projecting a bit here, but we imagine Mills had a minor heart attack upon hearing that his officers had unloaded 43 bullets onto the streets of downtown Eureka shortly before 5 p.m. on a Tuesday. Again, possibly projecting, but we imagine that feeling only intensified when he learned that the suspect — Clayton Lee Lasinski — didn’t fire a shot at the officers and was only hit once in the barrage. At a press conference the day after the chaotic shooting, Mills said he understands “each officer is personally accountable for every round that they discharge and where that round ends up.”

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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Denied: Appellate Court Rejects Rechnitz Appeal for Change of Venue

Posted By on Wed, Aug 2, 2017 at 3:56 PM

  • Shlomo Rechnitz
On July 27 an appellate court ruled against a second plea on behalf of skilled nursing mogul Shlomo Rechnitz requesting that an upcoming elder abuse and wrongful death civil trial be moved closer to Rechnitz's home and center of operations in Los Angeles County.

The suit is being brought by local law firm Janssen Malloy, LLP on behalf of the family of Ralph Sorensen, who died in January of 2016 due to an infected pressure ulcer that was allegedly related to understaffing at Seaview Rehabilitation & Wellness Center. Seaview was named as a defendant, as well as its associated corporate entities, including Rockport Healthcare Services, the facility's administrator Lorena Smith and Brius Management Company. Rechnitz is Brius's owner and is personally named in the lawsuit.

In the initial request for a venue change, Rechnitz's attorney argued that he could not get a fair trial in Humboldt County due to negative media coverage and that the distance from Los Angeles would make it difficult for Rechnitz and his wife, Tamar, to attend the trial. The bid for a change of venue was rejected on May 26 by Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Timothy Cissna.

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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Early Morning Crash Kills Two

Posted By on Tue, Aug 1, 2017 at 9:22 AM

Two people traveling southbound on U.S. Highway 101 near Pepperwood died at around 1:50 a.m. when their 1995 Nissan coupe left the road, collided with the guardrail, then a tree and ignited, becoming fully engulfed in flames.

The cause of the initial crash is unknown, as is whether or not drugs and alcohol were a factor. The names of the occupants have not yet been released, pending notification of next of kin. These deaths bring the total number of vehicle fatalities on Humboldt County roadways for the year up to 25.

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