Monday, January 22, 2018

Judge Reinholtsen Announces Retirement

Posted By on Mon, Jan 22, 2018 at 3:06 PM

Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Dale Reinholtsen. - FILE
  • FILE
  • Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Dale Reinholtsen.
Dale A. Reinholtsen is preparing to finish his 21-year career as a Humboldt County superior court judge. The press release from the court sets his retirement date for the end of December, when his current term will come to a close.

Reinholtsen has presided over several high-profile Humboldt County cases, including a 2002 suit by the county against landowner Bob McKee, accused of violating the Williamson Act, the fight for Ferndale Enterprise editor Caroline Titus to recover her attorney fees after winning a successful public records act request case against the Humboldt County Fair Board, and the prolonged battle of the city of Eureka to force local property owners Floyd and Betty Squires to come into compliance with building codes. Reinholtsen and Judge Christopher Wilson, both widely respected in the courthouse, were also admonished by the California Commission on Judicial Performance in 2016 for failing to decide their cases on time and allegedly submitting false affidavits to the state and receiving their salary in violation of California law.

The looming retirement adds to what has been a busy stretch in judicial chambers in the courthouse and means another new face will join the likes of Greg Elvine-Kreis and Kelly Neel, both appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to the bench last year, with another vacant judgeship still awaiting Brown's attention.

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Huffman Says No to Stopgap Bill for 'Sh*tdown'

Posted By on Mon, Jan 22, 2018 at 2:42 PM

Congressman Jared Huffman - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Congressman Jared Huffman
North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman once again took the Republican majority to task for its “colossal failure to govern” in a statement today about his reasons for voting against a short-term spending bill to end the government shut-down — or "sh*tdown," as he’s called it  — at least for the time being.

In a release, Huffman noted other Democrats would support the stopgap measure to keep the proverbial government lights on through Feb. 8 but that meant depending on “pinky-swear promises by our Republican colleagues.”

He cited the need for a full-year funding bill that includes children’s health insurance, community clinics, compromise on spending caps, a supplemental disaster bill and protections for so-call Dreamers, or those brought into the United States illegally when they were children.

Huffman also noted that Republicans “control all branches of government.”

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Humboldt Municipal Water Board Ready to Appeal Planning Commission Decision

Posted By on Mon, Jan 22, 2018 at 1:42 PM

Friedenbach and staff address the County Planning Commission about - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • Friedenbach and staff address the County Planning Commission about
John Friedenbach, general manager of the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District, told the Journal today that his agency plans to appeal the Humboldt County Planning Commission's Jan. 12 decision to recommend rezoning of a parcel adjacent to the Mad River in Glendale. The property, owned by the Mercer Fraser Co., is currently in use as a gravel quarry and slated to become the future home of a cannabis extraction operation. This necessitated its rezoning for heavy industrial use.

Citing concerns about possible contamination of the county water supply, Friedenbach was joined by most of his staff and several community members to speak out during public comment at the commission's Jan. 11 meeting. Although the proposal includes a closed-loop system that would ostensibly protect against contamination of the water table, the site is on a flood plain, meaning that a natural disaster could potentially result in dangerous chemicals being swept into the water system, putting the health of thousands of Humboldt County residents at risk.

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Saturday, January 20, 2018

Back in Pink

Posted By on Sat, Jan 20, 2018 at 8:58 PM

A group of young girls carries the Women's March banner at the head of the procession. - PHOTO BY MARK MCKENNA
  • Photo by Mark McKenna
  • A group of young girls carries the Women's March banner at the head of the procession.

On Saturday, Jan. 20, Madaket Plaza at the foot of C Street was packed with participants for Eureka's second Women's March. Last year, the multi-city protest following the inauguration of Donald Trump drew between 6,000 and 7,000 people, the largest crowd of marchers in Eureka's history. This year's event, which was a somewhat last-minute affair, also coincided with marches across the country and brought out between 4,000 and 5,000, according to Eureka Police Chief Steve Watson. Photographer Mark McKenna captured the crowd as it looped through Old Town in the slideshow below.


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Friday, January 19, 2018

Huffman Blames Republicans for 'Sh*tdown'

Posted By on Fri, Jan 19, 2018 at 10:45 PM

Jared Huffman. - CONGRESS
  • Congress
  • Jared Huffman.
Shortly after Congress sent the federal government spiraling toward a shutdown by failing to pass a continuing funding resolution tonight, North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman sent out a statement blasting Republicans, laying blame for the “sh*tdown” squarely at their feet.

Earlier today, Huffman voted against the continuing resolution that passed the House and would have funded the government into mid February and reauthorized the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which expired in September and provides insurance for some 9 million children, for the next six years. But the bill didn’t include any action on DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the program that protects nearly a million undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children (known as “dreamers”) from deportation, which Democrats had demanded. That proved a poison pill in the Senate, where the stop-gap funding measure failed to come close to the 60 votes it needed to pass.

The headline of Huffman’s statement includes an asterisked reference to Trump’s rejection of a bipartisan deal brought forward by Senate leadership that would have funded the government, extended CHIP and renewed DACA protections for dreamers, in part because he reportedly believed the deal allowed for too much immigration from “shithole” — or “shithouse,” depending on whose version you want to believe — African countries and Haiti, and not enough from places like Norway. Trump’s reaction to the agreement sent lawmakers back to the drawing table and another viable deal never emerged.

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Judge Allows Squireses' Building to Be Condemned, Sets Hearing On Process

Posted By on Fri, Jan 19, 2018 at 5:21 PM

The Squireses' 833 H St. property. - FILE
  • File
  • The Squireses' 833 H St. property.
Judge Dale Reinholtsen today declined to block the city of Eureka’s order to vacate a dilapidated apartment building owned by Floyd and Betty Squires, meaning the 15 tenants of 833 H St. will need to be out by Monday.

The Squireses had requested a temporary restraining order to restrict city officials from entering any of the couple’s buildings and “disturbing or evicting” renters after the city condemned the H Street complex, citing “extremely hazardous electrical and other violations at the property.”

The residents — some with life-threatening conditions — have until Jan. 22 to leave. City officials told the court that all of the renters have made arrangements for where they will go when the deadline arrives after receiving $2,000 in relocation aid.

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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Award-Winning Eel River Documentary Screens Tomorrow in Eureka

Posted By on Thu, Jan 18, 2018 at 4:11 PM

dji_0006-2.jpg
The North Coast will get the chance tomorrow to take an up-close look at the Eel River, its history and its uncertain future.

A River’s Last Chance, an award-winning documentary by Shane Anderson, will screen at the Eureka Theater at 7 p.m., to be followed by a panel discussion with Anderson, co-producer Jason Hartwick and others. Anderson says he’s been working on the film for more than four years, with it becoming all-consuming in the last couple.

The ambitious film looks at the river’s history, from pre-colonial times through the salmon boom, the timber rush, its damming and the current green rush.

“I think the overarching theme is that those who can’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it,” Anderson said. “I don’t know how many more times the river or our local economy can withstand that.”

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High Surf Closes Bay Entrance

Posted By on Thu, Jan 18, 2018 at 1:59 PM

highsurf.jpg
The United States Coast Guard captain of the port has closed the entrance to Humboldt Bay due to high surf, the Humboldt County Office of Emergency Service wrote in a Tweet this afternoon.

The National Weather Service issued a high surf warning this morning, in effect until 10 p.m., predicting waves up to 32 feet along the local coastline, especially on west and north west facing beaches.

“Large breaking waves along the coast will lead to increased wave run-up on beaches with waves topping and washing over large rocks and jetties. These large waves can be erratic and unpredictable,” the weather service warning states. “Use extra caution near the surf zone as these large waves will be capable of sweeping people into the frigid and turbulent ocean water.”

The warning also urged mariners looking to cross the bar to “exercise extreme caution especially during max ebb,” which was expected to take place between noon and 6 p.m. today. People are warned not to go down to the jetties to watch or photograph the high surf.
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Women's March is Taking to the Streets of Eureka

Posted By on Thu, Jan 18, 2018 at 11:44 AM

Women's March on Eureka route map. - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • Women's March on Eureka route map.
The Women’s March of Eureka will the hit the streets between 2 and 4 p.m. on Saturday and, while streets won’t be closed, expect some delays near Second and Third streets between H and M streets and on First Street between C and H streets.

Last year’s event, held in conjunction with hundreds across the nation and around the world, was the largest in the city’s history. The march kicks off at Madaket Plaza (formerly C Street Plaza) with a rally at 1 p.m.

The National Weather Service forecast is calling for a chance of showers before 4 p.m. with a high temperature of 51.
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Huff Asks Interior to Remove California from Drilling Plan

Posted By on Thu, Jan 18, 2018 at 9:55 AM

Jared Huffman. - CONGRESS
  • Congress
  • Jared Huffman.
North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman joined a pair of his colleagues today in sending a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke opposing the administration's recently released draft offshore oil drilling plan and specifically requesting that it remove California.

The letter leans heavily on Zinke's rationale for removing Florida from the plan — which initially sought to lease dozens of new oil drilling sites on the continental shelf surrounding the United States, including two off the coast of Northern California. In exempting Florida — after an outcry from a host of officials there — Zinke pointed to the state's tourism industry and local opposition to the plan.

In their letter, Huffman and his colleagues point out that California also has a bustling tourism economy and a cadre of public officials — including the governor — have voiced strong opposition to the plan. Failure to remove California and other states from the plan, they wrote, would make Florida's removal look like a "purely politically motived decision."

Read the full letter here and see the press release from Huffman's office below.

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