Tuesday, May 1, 2018

2nd UPDATE: Man Found Dead on U.S. Highway 101 Died of Gunshot Wounds

Posted By on Tue, May 1, 2018 at 10:01 AM

Humboldt County Sheriff's Office - FILE
  • FILE
  • Humboldt County Sheriff's Office
2nd UPDATE:

Humboldt County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Samantha Karges confirmed this morning that Salvatore Riccobono IV died from "multiple gunshot wounds."

Karges could not say how Riccobono's body ended up on U.S. Highway 101 near Salmon Creek, where it was struck by a driver in the early hours of April 23. She also could not release any information about where Riccobono, originally from Concord, was working, although his LinkedIn page said he was the owner of NorCal Extracts, a Sacramento-based dispensary.

"We believe he was living in Humboldt County at the time of his death," Karges said.

Riccobono's vehicle, a 1998 Gold Infinity SUV, was recovered in Eureka on Sunday April 27 thanks to a citizen tip. Karges could not say if his gun had been found. No suspects have been identified.

"We were really thankful to get that citizen’s tip to find the vehicle," said Karges. "We are grateful for any help the public can offer. The crime tip hotline can be anonymous."

The Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip Line: 268-2539.

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Monday, April 30, 2018

'A Shining Example:' Officials Gather to Celebrate the Jefferson Community Center and Park

Posted By on Mon, Apr 30, 2018 at 1:37 PM

Everyone's all smiles after Salem Smith, who was in the Seed program at the center from the beginning, cut the ribbon celebrating the completion of phase one of the Jefferson Community Center and Park. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • Everyone's all smiles after Salem Smith, who was in the Seed program at the center from the beginning, cut the ribbon celebrating the completion of phase one of the Jefferson Community Center and Park.

It's official: The once blighted and boarded Jefferson Elementary School site is back in a big way.

The Westside Community Improvement Association welcomed a host of community members and elected officials Friday to a ribbon cutting that officially completed the Jefferson Community Center and Park. The once fallow property is now bustling with life — a playground, a community garden and a community center, which offers everything from classes and community meetings to a summer nutrition program.

"This is not just a job well done but a shining example of what can be done when a community pulls together," Westside Community Improvement Association President Heidi Benzonelli-Burden gushed in a letter inviting the public to the ribbon cutting.


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Mountain Lion Sightings, Pet Attacks Prompt Warning in Rio Dell

Posted By on Mon, Apr 30, 2018 at 11:05 AM

Rio Dell officials caution residents to keep pets and children inside due to unusual cougar activity. - CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
  • California Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Rio Dell officials caution residents to keep pets and children inside due to unusual cougar activity.
Rio Dell officials are warning residents to keep their children and pets indoors following a series of mountain lion sightings near ravines frequented by children along the river bar and in neighborhoods along Riverside and Eeloa avenues on the east side of U.S. Highway 101.

The city warns that the sightings have taken place during the day and there have been to two reports of dogs being attacked, one of which died as a result. According to the release, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has been notified.


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Saturday, April 28, 2018

Where is HSU? Questions Go Unanswered at Community Dialogue on Race

Posted By on Sat, Apr 28, 2018 at 2:50 PM

Students hang a "Justice for Josiah" banner on the Humboldt State University quad earlier this month. A similar banner hung outside the D Street Neighborhood Center for the Community Dialogue on Race. - PHOTO BY MARK MCKENNA
  • Photo by Mark McKenna
  • Students hang a "Justice for Josiah" banner on the Humboldt State University quad earlier this month. A similar banner hung outside the D Street Neighborhood Center for the Community Dialogue on Race.
Community members are urging the city of Arcata and Humboldt State University for honesty and transparency. Of the nearly 50 people who attended Thursday’s Community Dialogue on Race at Arcata’s D Street Neighborhood Center, there was no one there to represent HSU’s administration. The dialogue began with about half as many attending as did last month and, about halfway through the forum, the crowd downsized to roughly 20 people. The crowd grew increasingly frustrated as questions directed toward HSU went unanswered, largely because there was no one there to answer them. Various community members felt that HSU administration’s absence was a statement itself.

What attendees were expecting were answers to 10 questions on their agenda, one of them being, “When will HSU join Arcata in working on race relations and safety?”

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Friday, April 27, 2018

HSU's Cappa Picked by Buccaneers in Third Round of NFL Draft

Posted By on Fri, Apr 27, 2018 at 9:03 PM

Cappa - HSU
  • HSU
  • Cappa
Humboldt State University offensive tackle Alex Cappa has been selected in the third round of the National Football League draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which traded up to get him, becoming the first HSU player taken in the draft in more than 25 years.

The 94th player chosen overall, the 6-foot-6, 305-pound Cappa was a dominant force for the HSU Lumberjacks, earning Great Northwestern Athletic Conference Lineman of the Year honors each of his four seasons at HSU.

Cappa was projected to be a fourth or fifth round pick by pundits, but the Buccaneers clearly targeted him, trading up to select him. ESPN’s draft analysis says Cappa is a good fit for the organization, which saw a couple of its linemen end last season with serious injuries and is looking to improve its run blocking, and described Cappa as a “tenacious run-blocker with a nasty disposition.” The sports network’s pre-draft analysis, however, couches expectations, saying Cappa “might never develop into a starter but has the mental and physical toughness to become an above average backup.”

HSU fans looking to get a glimpse of Cappa in the big leagues can look forward to Sept. 24, when his Buccaneers will square off with the Pittsburg Steelers on ESPN.

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2nd UPDATE: Suspect Surrenders in Fatal Hit and Run

Posted By on Fri, Apr 27, 2018 at 2:33 PM

chp-patch.gif
2nd UPDATE:
At about 6:30 p.m. today, 33-year-old Benjamin Shermis, of Arcata, came into the California Highway Patrol's Arcata office and admitted he was the river in last night's fatal hit-and-run collision on U.S. Highway 101, according to the CHP.

The CHP reports that Shermis was subsequently arrested for felony hit and run and booked into the county jail. His vehicle — a 2001 Ford van — was located where he told investigators it would be, according to the CHP.

UPDATE:
The Humboldt County Coroner’s Office has identified the victim of last night’s hit-and-run collision near McKinleyville as 34-year-old Richard Brandon Freeman, of Hoopa.

Freeman was found shortly before 9 p.m. lying in the center divide of U.S. Highway 101 near the North Bank Road off-ramp and was pronounced dead at the scene. The California Highway Patrol has also announced that it is now searching for a Ford Econoline Van from between 1992 and 2000, or a vehicle with “similar van cab and chassis.” The suspect vehicle is believed be white in color with damage to its driver-side headlight and turn signal.

CHP asks anyone with information about the case, including Freeman’s activities leading up to the collision, to call its Humboldt office at 822-5981 or 268-2000.

See the full press release copied below our original post.

PREVIOUSLY:
The California Highway Patrol is investigating a hit-and-run crash that left a pedestrian dead in the median on U.S. Highway 101 near North Bank Road last night.

CHP reports it was dispatched to a call of a pedestrian lying in the center divide of U.S. Highway 101 just north of Arcata shortly before 9 p.m. yesterday. Officers arrived to find an unresponsive male and immediately began CPR, but the pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene after medical personnel arrived.

According to CHP, it appears the pedestrian was in the northbound roadway when struck by an unknown vehicle, which fled the scene. Officials are still working to identify the pedestrian and notify his family of his death. Northbound traffic was diverted onto Central Avenue while investigators worked the scene.

The incident marks Humboldt County's ninth vehicle-related fatality of 2018.

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UPDATE: One-Way Controlled Traffic on 101 at Klamath Bridge

Posted By on Fri, Apr 27, 2018 at 12:07 PM

chp.jpg
UPDATE: Caltrans reports that U.S. Highway 101 is now open to one-way controlled traffic.

PREVIOUS: A fiery crash between a sedan and a semi-truck has shut down U.S. Highway 101 in both directions at the Klamath Bridge, with at least one person being airlifted from the scene, according to the CHP incident report.

The driver of the semi, which began exploding after the crash, was reported to have gotten out, but the driver of a Nissan Maxima had to be extricated from the car with a medivac crew called in, although the extent of the person’s injuries is unclear.

The incident report states that there some 100 gallons of diesel fuel spilled in the crash and a boat is checking on the bridge.

There is no time estimate for when the highway will reopen.

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Thursday, April 26, 2018

NAACP Calls on HSU to Stop Recruiting Students of Color Unless it Can Support Them

Posted By on Thu, Apr 26, 2018 at 8:15 PM

FILE
  • File
The Eureka branch of the NAACP is asking that Humboldt State University cease all efforts to recruit students of color until certain conditions are met, including ensuring that sufficient support systems are in place so “students of color thrive in this community.”

The NAACP’s one-page press release notes that students of color at HSU have shared stories with the organization detailing their “experiences of racism in many forms, including micro-aggressive behavior in HSU classrooms, overt racism on the streets, systemic racism in the pursuit of housing and employment and institutional racism in the form of more punitive measures than their white counterparts.” Additionally, the release states that the still-unsolved April 15, 2017, slaying of HSU sophomore David Josiah Lawson, a 19-year-old black man from Riverside County, has left many students traumatized and afraid to “venture far from campus or their homes.”

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Honeydew Store Owners 'Put The Sneak On' Alleged Burglars, Leading to Arrests

Posted By on Thu, Apr 26, 2018 at 2:35 PM

A deputy finds the allegedly pilfered smokes. - THADEUS GREENSON
  • Thadeus Greenson
  • A deputy finds the allegedly pilfered smokes.
The Honeydew Store was burglarized last night but it didn’t take long for store owner Bob Shinn to crack the case.

The store’s manager arrived this morning to find the door pried open, the cash boxes gone and several cartons of cigarettes missing. Shinn said he checked the store’s surveillance tapes to find two people had broken into the store at about 7:30 p.m. yesterday. The footage included some good images of their faces and the vehicle they fled the scene in. Shinn said he immediately knew the first place he and his wife should look for the burglars this morning.

“Anytime someone like that has a score they go straight to the casino,” he said.
Bob Shinn speaks with deputies at the scene of the traffic stop and subsequent arrests. - THADEUS GREENSON
  • Thadeus Greenson
  • Bob Shinn speaks with deputies at the scene of the traffic stop and subsequent arrests.
So the pair drove up to Bear River Casino and circled the parking lot until they saw the suspect vehicle — a silver sedan. When the suspects — a young couple — left the casino and got in their car, the Shinns tailed them and the couple never suspected a thing.

“We put the sneak on them — we’re from Honeydew,” Shinn said with a smile.

While tailing the car, the Shinns called the sheriff’s office, which dispatched several deputies. When the sedan rolled into Old Town Eureka, the deputies initiated a traffic stop, with a couple of Eureka Police Department patrol cars providing backup, and took the couple into custody.

Inside the sedan, they found a backpack with a stack of cash in it and a bunch of rolls of coins, about a dozen cartoons of cigarettes and a couple cases of soda, all of which the Shinns said came from their store.

A backpack full of cash and coins pulled from the suspect vehicle. - THADEUS GREENSON
  • Thadeus Greenson
  • A backpack full of cash and coins pulled from the suspect vehicle.
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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Marek Reavis Appointed New Public Defender

Posted By on Tue, Apr 24, 2018 at 5:53 PM

Marek Reavis - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • Marek Reavis
The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors voted in closed session this afternoon to appoint Marek Reavis, currently serving as interim public defender, to that office's top job. Reavis' appointment caps a tumultuous year for the department, which saw public outcry and mass resignations over the board's previous appointment, David Marcus, whom many considered unqualified. After Marcus abruptly left in November, Conflict Counsel Kaleb Cockrum briefly took the reins of the office, which had hemorrhaged staff under Marcus' tenure. But Cockrum was appointed judge in February, leaving Reavis to step in. The Board apparently thought he was doing a good job.

Reavis had an uncommon life path to his current place of residence and career, beginning life in St. Louis, Missouri, before traveling around the country as an artist and painter before deciding to attend law school at the University of California in Berkeley. He was admitted to the California State Bar in 2000. He said he always knew he wanted to work as a criminal defense attorney.

"Growing up, I watched Perry Mason, The Defenders," he told the Journal. "When I was a junior in a law firm, I was planning for my first deposition."

Working in Humboldt County for Conflict Counsel, where he has been since February of 2006, was the perfect fit for him. He was, he said, "in the mix" right away.

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