Thursday, November 30, 2017

Korbel Sawmill to Reopen Next Month

Posted By on Thu, Nov 30, 2017 at 9:45 AM

The last log to come off the Korbel Mill when it closed in 2015. The mill had been in operation on and off since 1884. - PHOTO BY WILLY WARD
  • Photo by Willy Ward
  • The last log to come off the Korbel Mill when it closed in 2015. The mill had been in operation on and off since 1884.
The Korbel Mill, closed in February of 2015 after a century of operation, and purchased from the Green Diamond Resource Co. by the Trinity River Timber Co. in May of 2016, will fire up again Dec. 18.

"It's been a journey, that's for sure," said Ken Dunn, general manager of Schmidbauer Lumber, which is the Eureka branch of the Trinity River company. Dunn has been working on the project since the mill's initial closure. "I've been working on it form concept to design to construction to implementation. There's challenges around every corner."

The mill will primarily produce Douglas fir commodities for the housing market and new construction, to be shipped across the state. Dunn acknowledges that a recent hike in gas tax, which increases the sales tax on diesel from 1.75 to 5.75 percent, may have an overall effect on the bottom line as relates to shipping costs, but its full impact has yet to be seen. 

"It’s early to say but yeah it will eventually ... impact freight costs," Dunn told the Journal, adding that the big trucks can be hard on roads. "You got to pay to play sometimes."

Trinity River President Frank Schmidbauer said in the 2016 press release announcing the sale, "The Korbel mill is a great addition. It is located in close proximity to timber supplies and good transportation both east and south." The sale came with an existing agreement from Green Diamond to supply logs from its timberlands.

It doesn't appear as though the reopening will add any new jobs, as Schmidbauer will be transferring 45 of its current employees from its Eureka site to Korbel. Those employees were working the second shift (4 p.m. to midnight) at the Eureka location, which the company had decided to curtail. 

"Instead of laying them off we allowed them a one-time transfer to keep their benefits and their seniority," Dunn said.

More shifts and employees could be added later on, he said. He estimates the mill will process 100 million board feet per year.


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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Is Bigfoot a Bear?

Posted By on Wed, Nov 29, 2017 at 2:26 PM

Clap if you believe in Bigfoot. - FROM THE PATTERSON-GIMLIN FILM.
  • From the Patterson-Gimlin film.
  • Clap if you believe in Bigfoot.
In a tough break for cryptozoologists, a team of scientists says their DNA analysis of hair samples, scat and a tooth purported to be from Bigfoot’s Tibetan cousin the Yeti are, in fact, from bears.

The findings — based on the analysis of mitochondrial DNA from 24 samples, including some collected in the 1930s on a Tibetan plateau — were published today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

“This study represents the most rigorous analysis to date of samples suspected to derive from anomalous or mythical ‘hominid’-like creatures, strongly suggesting that the biological basis of the yeti legend is local brown and black bears,” the conclusion states.

Results from a similar study published in the same science journal back in 2014 also linked hair samples sent in from around the world — some as old as 50 years — back to known species.

But the lead scientist noted that true believers were not deterred by his research.

“I’ve had very good cooperation with the Bigfoot community, who are generally pleased that there is now a method of identifying their quarry in a way that would be universally accepted,” Oxford geneticist Bryan Sykes told Science magazine at the time. “They are returning to the forests with renewed enthusiasm in search of the ‘golden hair’ which proves their beliefs.”
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Remembering Sheriff Cox, 35 Years later

Posted By on Wed, Nov 29, 2017 at 10:41 AM

Sheriff Gene Cox - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • Sheriff Gene Cox
He was known as the sheriff who never carried a gun; the man whose laugh you could hear ringing across the building.

Today marks the 35th anniversary of Former Humboldt County Sheriff Gene Cox’s death. Cox was killed in the line of duty in 1982, just four weeks before he was set to retire, the last Humboldt County law enforcement officer to be killed by a suspect.

On that deadly Monday afternoon, Cox stopped by the Ebb Tide RV Park on his way home from work to help his father-in-law, park manager Jack Alton, handle a dispute with a distraught resident. The resident, Clarence Eugene McCutcheon, confronted Cox with a rifle, fatally shooting him. McCutcheon shot and killed two others in the rampage, Alton and former local education official Claire Montgomery. When officers with the Eureka Police Department arrived on scene, McCutcheon again opened fire. He was later fatally wounded in a shootout with Eureka Police officers.

“I was out hunting when my wife called me and told me the news,” Retired HCSO Detective Sergeant Dave Walker said. “It was heartbreaking.”


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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

UPDATE: Fatality Victim Identified in Shelter Cove Accident

Posted By on Tue, Nov 28, 2017 at 3:43 PM

Volunteer firefighters at the scene of this morning's crash on Chemise Mountain Road off Shelter Cove Road. - COURTESY OF SHELTER COVE FIRE DEPARTMENT
  • Courtesy of Shelter Cove Fire Department
  • Volunteer firefighters at the scene of this morning's crash on Chemise Mountain Road off Shelter Cove Road.
UPDATE: Lt. Mike Fridley of Humboldt County Sheriff's Office has identified the deceased man as Martin Arrendondo'suarez, 28, from Shelter Cove.

Previously:

Cheryl Antony, public information officer of Shelter Cove Volunteer Fire Department confirmed that a person has died after a car drove off a steep embankment on Chemise Mountain Road off Shelter Cove Road in Shelter Cove today. Cause of death has yet to be confirmed by the coroner, and the name of the deceased has not yet been released. Antony says one of the car's occupants estimated the time of the accident to be around 1 a.m. Passersby may not have seen the vehicle, which was stopped against a tree some 100 feet down from the road. Antony says it was not until one of the car's seven passengers "climbed up top and walked a mile to a house with a telephone and called for help" that the fire department got the call at 7:40 a.m.


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Public Defender Reportedly Got $25K in Severance Pay

Posted By on Tue, Nov 28, 2017 at 11:32 AM

David Marcus - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • David Marcus
The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors reportedly agreed to give embattled former Public Defender David Marcus two-months severance pay when he resigned his position, according to Marcus’ letter of resignation.

That would equate to about $25,000 given Marcus’ $150,000 annual salary.

It’s unclear when the board reached this agreement or how it was finalized. With 24-hours notice, the county scheduled a special closed session board meeting for 4:15 p.m. on Nov. 22, the day before Thanksgiving, with two items on the agenda: discussion of the lawsuit challenging Marcus’ hiring and the review of an unnamed county employee. The board met in closed session for about an hour and 45 minutes before adjourning, reporting no final action out of closed session.

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Monday, November 27, 2017

Again With the Crab

Posted By on Mon, Nov 27, 2017 at 3:00 PM

The local commercial Dungenes crab season is delayed, again. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • The local commercial Dungenes crab season is delayed, again.
Bad news, local Dungeness crab lovers. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is delaying the commercial season in Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties for at least 15 days due to poor crab quality.

The fishery is now currently set to open Dec. 16 to let the crustaceans fill out a bit. A second round of testing is set to take place next week.

On the bright side, the recreational season is under way, although the California Department of Public Health cautions against eating the guts of crab — AKA the “butter” — caught in certain areas due to elevated levels of domoic acid — which, as most of us will remember, all but destroyed the 2015 season.


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Griego to Dismiss Public Defender Suit

Posted By on Mon, Nov 27, 2017 at 11:49 AM

FILE
  • file
Local attorney Patrik Griego announced this morning that he will be dismissing the lawsuit he brought challenging David Marcus' appointment as Humboldt County public defender in light of Marcus' resignation.

In the short release (copied below), Griego notes that his lawsuit was challenging whether Marcus met minimum state qualifications for the job when the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors hired him to succeed Kevin Robinson, who'd recently retired from the post. Marcus' controversial tenure came to an abrupt end when he resigned his post Wednesday night, hours after the board spent almost two hours in closed session discussing Griego's lawsuit and reviewing the performance of an unnamed county employee. Sources told the Journal earlier Wednesday that Marcus had packed up the personal belongings in his office and left at about 2:30 p.m.

It's currently unclear if the board has appointed an interim public defender in the wake of Marcus' departure, which came a few weeks before Griego's lawsuit was scheduled for a pivotal hearing in the case.

Griego had previously offered not to pursue the recovery of fees and costs  — which he estimated had run up to $125,000 in the case — if Marcus left county employment, whether it be via resignation or termination. Griego said this afternoon that he will not be seeking to recover those costs from the county.

County Counsel Jeffrey Blanck was unavailable for comment when the Journal called this morning.

See Griego's full press release copied below:


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Man Struck by Vehicle is 30th Road Death of 2017

Posted By on Mon, Nov 27, 2017 at 9:21 AM

chp-patch.gif
The California Highway Patrol confirmed this morning that 43-year-old Timothy Good died after being struck by a vehicle while walking on North Bank Road near the intersection of State Route 299. Good was on the east edge of roadway, walking north at around 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 24 when he was struck by a 2012 Toyota Corolla driven by Dena Lara, 33, who was traveling south.

Good was transported to Mad River Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Humboldt County is on track to record one of its deadliest years in history for vehicle fatalities, with Good's death marking the 30th this year. For more information about our high vehicle fatality rates, check out this cover story from 2015.

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Friday, November 24, 2017

Sixteen-Year-Old Killed in Accident on 299

Posted By on Fri, Nov 24, 2017 at 8:00 PM

FROM WWW.POSTMILE.CA.GOV
  • From www.postmile.ca.gov

According to a CHP press release today, 16-year-old Alexis Hill of Anderson, California, was killed on Wednesday, Nov. 22, when a car she was a passenger in veered off State Route 299, going down an embankment. The driver, Redding resident Thomas Ladewig, and another passenger, Bryce Tracy, also of Redding, were both wearing seatbelts and survived with minor injuries. Hill was not wearing a seatbelt. The CHP is continuing its investigation but states, "DUI does not appear to have been a factor in the collision."

With the fatal crash early this morning in Shelter Cove, Humboldt County's total number of road fatalities in 2017 comes to 29.

Read the full CHP press release below:


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David Marcus' Resignation Ends Tumultuous Tenure

Posted By on Fri, Nov 24, 2017 at 3:26 PM

David Marcus - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • David Marcus
Supervisor Virginia Bass confirmed that David Marcus has stepped down from the county’s public defender post after a tumultuous nine months in office.

“He sent a letter on Wednesday evening informing us of his resignation,” Bass said Friday.

Marcus’ sudden departure came after the Board of Supervisors held a special closed session meeting — called 24 hours earlier — to “consider the evaluation of performance of a public employee and to hear complaints or charges brought against the employee by another person or employee."

Also up for discussion was a lawsuit filed by local defense attorney Patrik Griego that questioned whether Marcus met the minimum qualifications for the public defender’s job as required under California law.


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