Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Garberville Man Found Dead in Eel River

Posted By on Wed, Oct 11, 2017 at 2:47 PM

Humboldt County Sheriff's Office - FILE
  • FILE
  • Humboldt County Sheriff's Office
The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office is investigating the death of a 33-year-old man whose body was found in the South Fork of the Eel River north of Redway last week.

Deputies responded shortly after 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 6 to a report of a body in the river and found it just upstream of the bridge used to access Eel River Conservation Camp No. 31. The body has been identified as that of a Garberville man, according to Sheriff's Lt. Mike Fridley, but his next of kin is out of the country and officials are holding off on releasing his name until she can be notified.

Fridley said it appears the man's body had been in the water "a while" and it's currently unclear what circumstances led to his death. "There's a lot of things it could be," Fridley said, adding that there's an autopsy scheduled for tomorrow.

Officials ask that anyone with information about the case call the sheriff's office at 445-7251.

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

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McKinleyville Man Suspected of Triple Homicide in Nevada Arrested

Posted By on Wed, Oct 11, 2017 at 12:56 PM

  • Humboldt County Sheriff's Office
  • Scott Baskette
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office has arrested a McKinleyville native who is wanted in Nevada for allegedly killing a woman and her parents at two different locations over the weekend.

According to news reports out of Silver Springs, the suspect, Scott Alan Baskette, 48, had been in a long-term relationship with homicide victim Rebecca Driver, 46. When authorities went to notify her parents, Frank and Coral Evans, they were also found dead in their home.

KOLO TV in Nevada reports that Baskette and Driver, a mother of four ages 14 to 25, had ended their 12 year relationship just a few weeks before the homicides. She was found unconscious by her children, but died before officials arrived. Her death was deemed suspicious. The Evans died of gunshot wounds, the station reports.

Nevada authorities contacted the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office to report he might be in the area and a deputy spotted the vehicle Baskette was believed to be driving in the Willow Creek area yesterday just before 5:30 p.m.

After a brief chase down a dirt road, Baskette hit a locked gate and was taken into custody without incident.

The release from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office:

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

UPDATED: No Report Out of Closed Door Evaluation of Public Defender

Posted By on Tue, Oct 10, 2017 at 5:08 PM

Humboldt County Public Defender David Marcus in his sparsely decorated Eureka office. - PHOTO BY MARK MCKENNA
  • Photo by Mark McKenna
  • Humboldt County Public Defender David Marcus in his sparsely decorated Eureka office.
The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors announced no final actions when reconvening out of closed session today.

The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors will meet in closed session Tuesday to review the job performance of embattled Public Defender David Marcus.

The closed-session review comes eight months into Marcus’ tenure and about two weeks after a visiting Humboldt County Superior Court judge denied a county request to dismiss a lawsuit alleging Marcus doesn’t meet minimum state qualifications for his job. It also comes as staffing issues in the office have bubbled into public view, with the departure of four experienced attorneys in an eight-week period, which prompted a four-month continuance in a high-profile murder case. (One of the exiting attorneys, Heidi Holmquist, was highly critical of Marcus on her way out the door.)

It’s unclear exactly why Marcus is up for review this week. He underwent a closed session performance evaluation back in April, when the board emerged with a statement of support for him. At the time, county spokesman Sean Quincey said department head reviews typically occur annually in the fall but that sometimes the board will opt to do them early in a new employee’s tenure to “outline goals and objectives” soon after the hiring process. (This is apparently the case with the county’s new human resources director, Lisa DeMatteo, who’s also being evaluated Tuesday after a couple months on the job.)

We’ll update this post with any reports out of closed session on Tuesday. In the meantime, find more on Marcus’ background here and more on the lawsuit and conditions in the office here.

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UPDATED: How to Help Victims of Sonoma, Napa & Mendo Fires

Posted By on Tue, Oct 10, 2017 at 10:44 AM

UPDATE: Allison reports that so many donations have been flooding in, a trailer and/or additional vehicles and drivers are necessary. Also, click here for a link of all emergency services and needed donations for fire victims in Petaluma.


Eureka City Councilmember Austin Allison is driving supplies to people affected by the wildfires south of us. Since the fires began on Sunday night, at least 20,000 people have been forced to evacuate their homes and 11 people have been reported dead, according to CNN.

Allison, a cardiac monitor technologist, originally wanted to travel down and offer medical aid but found volunteers had already stepped up to fill that need. So he volunteered to drive supplies down in his personal vehicle, possibly convoying with a friend. Humboldt Bay Fire offered its facility at  533 C St. in Eureka as a drop-off point. Those interested in donating supplies can bring them by until 7 p.m. today. Allison will be calling emergency operation centers in the affected regions to find out where supplies are most needed before driving down.

Here's what you can donate:

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UPDATE: 15 Confirmed Deaths, Dozens Missing in Fires, 101 Reopens

Posted By on Tue, Oct 10, 2017 at 10:19 AM

A plan drops a fire suppressant on a blaze yesterday near Blue Lake. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • A plan drops a fire suppressant on a blaze yesterday near Blue Lake.
UPDATE: Some 17 fires have raced through areas of California over the past two days with 15 confirmed deaths, another 100 people reported missing and an estimated 115,000 acres burned when a perfect storm of gusty winds and low humidity swept across the state.

Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency in Mendocino, Sonoma, Napa, Butte, Yuba, Lake, Nevada and Orange counties.

Meanwhile, U.S. Highway 101 has reopened in Mendocino County and in Santa Rosa but internet and phone outages continue.

North Coast state Sen. Mike McGuire reports via Twitter that 77 cell sites were down at the peak of the widespread outage due to power loss or fire damage. He says “35 are now up and running, more expected online today. Also working a fiber cut in Mendocino Co. Will have an update this afternoon."

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office said this morning that the main station is having phone and internet access issues. A fax machine has been converted to receive non-emergency calls at 445-7298. Residents can also try the following numbers:
If the line is busy, try the McKinleyville station at 839-6600 or the Garberville substation at 923-2761. The jail can be reached at 441-5129.

PREVIOUS: Strong winds are fanning the flames of devastating wildfires throughout state and the region, prompting the closure of U.S. Highway 101 near Redwood Valley and evacuations in several counties, including Butte, Mendocino Napa, Nevada and Sonoma.

Just around 9 a.m., Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Napa, Sonoma and Yuba counties.

Much of California, including Humboldt and Del Norte counties, remains under a red flag warning today, according to the Eureka office of the National Weather Service, with the potential destructive combination of gusty winds from the north-northwest and low humidity in the forecast.

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Monday, October 9, 2017

UPDATE: Arcata's 911 Back Up, Eureka and Fortuna Having Issues With Non-Emergency Lines

Posted By on Mon, Oct 9, 2017 at 12:42 PM

UPDATE: Arcata’s 911 system is back up after a phone outage connected early today due to the devastating wildfires burning to the south.

At least two other Humboldt County cities are also experiencing phone issues, but not with emergency service lines. The Eureka City Hall’s lines are down and the Fortuna Police Department reports that callers may have difficulty reaching the business lines.

Residents are reminded to only use 911 in the case of an emergency.

Notice from the Arcata Police Department:

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Sunday, October 8, 2017

Humboldt County Man Commits Suicide in Federal Prison

Posted By on Sun, Oct 8, 2017 at 3:59 PM

Mikal Xylon WIlde
  • Mikal Xylon WIlde
Mikal Xylon Wilde, the Humboldt County man serving a life sentence for murdering a migrant worker at his Kneeland marijuana farm, committed suicide in federal prison on Sept. 22, according to the Associated Press. He was 35.

Wilde was convicted on a total of six charges in 2015, including murder in the commission of a narcotics offense and conspiracy for the 2010 murder of Mario Roberto Juarez-Madrid, and later sentenced to serve life in prison plus 35 years. He appealed the convictions but the Ninth Circuit United States Court of Appeals upheld them earlier this year.

According to the Associated Press article, Wilde was found unresponsive in his cell in Terre Haute, Indiana, on Sept. 22 and rushed to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead four days later. The story quotes Vigo County Coroner Susan Amos as saying Wilde apparently hanged himself.

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Friday, October 6, 2017

Eureka Welcomes Recreational Pot, Embraces Ward Recommendations

Posted By on Fri, Oct 6, 2017 at 10:57 AM

Eureka development director Rob Holmlund - STILL FROM MEETING VIDEO
  • Still from meeting video
  • Eureka development director Rob Holmlund
After a lengthy presentation by Eureka Development Services Director Rob Holmlund, a series of clarifying questions by the councilmembers and a largely positive round of public comment, the Eureka City Council approved a broad set of staff recommendations that essentially welcome recreational marijuana businesses within city limits.

The decision came in advance of the implementation of state laws around adult recreational use of marijuana, due to take effect in January. Other cities, including Fortuna, have proactively restricted commercial cannabis sales and distribution to a degree more stringent than state law permits. Eureka's approach toward the industry appears to be on the laxer end of the spectrum, with commercial cannabis testing labs, manufacturing facilities, dispensaries and indoor grows all on the table.

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Humboldt Deputy on Vegas Shooting: 'Everyone Was Helping'

Posted By on Wed, Oct 4, 2017 at 11:56 AM

Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputy Dustin Del Biaggio and Ferndale Police Officer Tierra Shumard at the concert before the shooting. - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputy Dustin Del Biaggio and Ferndale Police Officer Tierra Shumard at the concert before the shooting.
A local couple, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputy Dustin Del Biaggio and Ferndale Police Officer Tierra Shumard, were standing in front of the stage on the last day of the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas when the shooting started.

They saw people around them fall to the ground, but were able escaped unharmed and have returned home. While both are declining media interviews at this time, Del Biaggio released a first-hand account of what they experienced in those 72 minutes of terror that took 59 lives and injured more than 500.

Read Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputy Dustin Del Biaggio personal account below:
"It was during the last performer of the night. We got to the show early, so we had made our way to the front of the stage.

At one point, we heard what sounded like firecrackers, that's what the audience thought it was.

Shortly after that, they started again, and we started to see people drop in front of us. Time doesn't really add up, but we dropped to the ground and I covered up Tierra.

We waited until the gunfire stopped and started to run towards the back. As we were running, there was another bust of gunfire as we were about halfway to the exit.
People were calling to "cover up the women," and a few people jumped on us to shield us from the gunfire.

When it stopped again, we made our way to the back of the venue where some people had already pushed out the back wall of a bar.

Around this time we ran into a LVPD officer who told us "Mandalay Bay, 15th floor."

In retrospect, this information [on the presumed location of the shooter] was key in keeping us safe, since we avoided the line of fire from that point on.

We came out of the building in a strange parking lot full of semi-trucks.
This was when I had a chance to pull up a map on my phone of the surrounding area to get my bearings.

This is when we finally had a chance to call our parents, to let them know we were OK and find out what was happening.

The community was amazing. Uber and Lyft drivers were just picking people up. We saw a girl in shock whose father had been shot and went with her to the hospital in an Uber that stopped for us.

There was no selfishness, everyone was helping.

I can honestly say that tunnel vision kicked in, the stress response was incredible. I can’t remember the emotion on people's faces, screams, any of that. I can only remember gunfire, and the silence when it wasn't there.

I really think that my LEO training was instrumental in the whole thing. When it happened, I really felt that the training came back, the feeling of take cover, all the things they teach you made a difference. It was a tough feeling being in the civilian role, not able to help, but lookingback our training helped to keep us safe.

We are doing OK, but I definitely have pangs of shock, disbelief, confusion and especiallysadness for the victims, people that can't come home."

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Sunday, October 1, 2017

Eureka City Council Set to Expand Boundaries, Redraw Wards, Fight Mold

Posted By on Sun, Oct 1, 2017 at 9:08 AM

The current Eureka City Council. - COURTESY OF THE CITY OF EUREKA
  • Courtesy of the city of Eureka
  • The current Eureka City Council.
On Tuesday, the Eureka City Council will tackle several topics that could have long-lasting impacts on the city. First, the ward redistricting ad hoc committee, which has been meeting for two months to discuss where the lines for the city's five wards should fall, will present its findings. With two current city councilmembers (Natalie Arroyo and Kim Bergel, wards 5 and 3 respectively) up for re-election, and another terming out (Marian Brady, Ward 1) in 2018, the district boundaries for these three wards could tip the balance of future council decisions, especially now that the city has switched to a true ward voting system.

The city will also hold a public hearing on the potential annexation of four parcels currently held by California Redwood Co. The company, a subsidiary of Green Diamond Resource Co., itself a spin-off of the Simpson Timber Co., stopped processing redwood in 2014 and shut down its operations in Humboldt County in 2015. The currently unincorporated land, where the company once had its corporate offices, has been sitting vacant ever since. Boundary maps show a little bump of blue land next to U.S. Highway 101, facing the bay, surrounded by red, city-zoned land. Should the city annex the property, it would provide city services such as water, power and law enforcement.

According to Rob Holmlund, director of community development for the city, the reason the land wasn't incorporated into the city to begin with is an "old and complicated story that goes back to the 1950s."

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