Thursday, May 31, 2018

Concerned Community Members Flood Meeting to Discuss Firing of Woman who 'Put the K in KHSU'

Posted By on Thu, May 31, 2018 at 2:11 PM

Katie Whiteside - KHSU
  • KHSU
  • Katie Whiteside
The KHSU Community Advisory Board held its monthly open meeting Wednesday evening in Humboldt State University’s Gist Hall to address community concerns over the handling of issues regarding staffing and station procedures — specifically, the sudden firing of longtime program and operations director Katie Whiteside by KHSU General Manager Peter Fretwell.

Fretwell, who was brought from outside the area to helm KHSU in April of 2017,  is “a 37-year radio executive … an experienced leader focused on community-driven programming and service, team-building and organizational culture,” according to a brief bio on the station's website. The 140 or so community members who attended the meeting, made up mostly of KHSU volunteers, staff, sustaining members and underwriters, expressed displeasure with the firing of Whiteside, who has worked at the station for more than two decades.


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State Senate Unanimously Passes 'Great Redwood Trail' Bill

Posted By on Thu, May 31, 2018 at 1:09 PM

Mike McGuire
  • Mike McGuire
The Great Redwood Trail is one step closer to reality.

A bill by North Coast state Sen. Mike McGuire to dissolve the North Coast Railroad Authority and transform the defunct railway from Willits to Arcata into a multi-use trail nabbed a unanimous 36-0 vote on the Senate floor last night.

“There is tremendous support for this trail project both in the state Legislature and on the North Coast and we couldn’t be more grateful for the support thus far,” McGuire said in a press release. “However, there is still major work to do and we know that anything that makes a big difference is never easy. We need to resolve the significant financial debt that NCRA has racked up over the years as our first step.”

The press release goes on to note that the bill has strong support from environmental groups, including the League of Conservation Voters, the Sierra Club, Trout Unlimited and “dozens more.” It also touts the trail’s potential economic impact to the North Coast.

Senate Bill 1029 will now head to the state Assembly for consideration. See the full press release from McGuire’s office copied below.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Capital & Main Takes a Hard Look at Homelessness at HSU

Posted By on Wed, May 30, 2018 at 4:02 PM

FILE
  • FILE
Capital & Main, an online nonprofit publication, published an article yesterday spotlighting housing insecurity for Humboldt State University Students. The article, which cites a Dec. 2016 article in the Journal by HSU Investigative Reporting students,  is part of a 10-day series exploring homelessness in California.

According to report released by the California State University system in January (and co-authored by HSU social work professor Jennifer Maguire), housing insecurity is rampant throughout the university system, with 11 percent of CSU students reporting having been homeless in the last year. As cited in the article, that problem is "most acute" at HSU, with nearly a fifth of the student body having been homeless at one point the previous year. (You can find a link to that report here.)
Chante Catt standing for her 2018 graduation. - SAM ARMANINO
  • Sam Armanino
  • Chante Catt standing for her 2018 graduation.

Reporter Gabriel Thompson interviewed off-campus housing liaison and founder of the Homeless Student Advocate Alliance, Chanté Marie Catt, who lived in a campground with her partner, small daughter and two dogs for her first few months attending HSU. They also interviewed Jasmine Bigham, a 23-year-old transfer student who is currently living out of her car in a HSU parking lot.

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Arcata Police Chief Forum Tonight

Posted By on Wed, May 30, 2018 at 11:06 AM

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The city of Arcata is hosting a public forum tonight (May 30) to take input on what residents would like to see in their next police chief.

“Public input is crucial to selecting the best individual to lead Arcata’s police department. I encourage all interested residents to attend the upcoming forum to share their thoughts on the characteristics and professional background they feel are most important when selecting a new chief,” Arcata City Manager Karen Diemer said in a city release.

Lt. Bart Silvers is currently serving as acting chief following Tom Chapman’s sudden departure from the post April 10 amid growing frustrations and criticism of his department’s handling of the unsolved killing of Humboldt State University student David Josiah Lawson a year earlier, including the resignation of a retired FBI agent brought on to aid in the investigation. Read more here, here and here.

According to the city, a national recruitment firm has been hired to conduct the search. An interim chief is expected to be named sometime in June to serve until a permanent selection is made.


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County Building Inspector Suspected of Taking $100K in Bribes

Posted By on Wed, May 30, 2018 at 10:03 AM

Patrick Mctigue - HCSO
  • HCSO
  • Patrick Mctigue
A county planning and building inspector was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of taking upwards of $100,000 in bribes to expedite projects after a seven-month investigation, according to a news release.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office reports Patrick William Mctigue, 47, was taken into custody in Old Town Eureka on a felony warrant after multiple victims came forward. He is facing charges of commercial bribery, grand theft and being a state official asking for or receiving a bribe.

In response to follow-up questions, sheriff’s office spokesperson Samantha Karges told the Journal that she could not discuss specific details because the case was still under investigation but stated that “these permits were for a range of projects, some involving marijuana cultivation and some having nothing to do with that industry.”

Read the full sheriff’s office release below:
A Humboldt County Planning and Building inspector was arrested Tuesday following an ongoing bribery investigation dating back to last year. The investigation originated in November of 2017 when the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received complaints about County Inspector Patrick William Mctigue, 47, of Fortuna.
The complaints alleged that Mctigue was receiving money from members of the public for expedited permit approval on building and grading projects. Multiple victims came forward to the Sheriff’s Office alleging that Mctigue had defrauded them. Mctigue is believed to have received over $100,000 from the victims. On May 29, 2018, at about 2:15 p.m., sheriff’s deputies arrested Mctigue in the Old Town Eureka area on a felony warrant. Mctigue was booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on the following charges: commercial bribery, grand theft and state official asking for or receiving a bribe.
This case is still under investigation. Anyone with information about this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at (707) 445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at (707) 268-2539.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Four Local Starbucks Close in Nationwide Training Effort

Posted By on Tue, May 29, 2018 at 12:29 PM

Four Humboldt County Starbucks are closing Tuesday for racial-sensitivity training. - STARBUCKS
  • Starbucks
  • Four Humboldt County Starbucks are closing Tuesday for racial-sensitivity training.
Four Humboldt County Starbucks locations are closing at 2:30 p.m. today (May 29) for racial sensitivity training as part of a nationwide effort by the company following the highly-publicized arrest of two black men at a Philadelphia store after the manager called 911.

In an open letter to customers, the company’s Executive Chairman Howard Schultz called the sessions taking place at more than 8,000 stores “a new chapter” in Starbucks history.

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Saturday, May 26, 2018

McKinley Draped in 'Justice for Josiah' Banner in Dual Act of Protest

Posted By on Sat, May 26, 2018 at 2:40 PM

The McKinley statue was shrouded in a "Justice for Josiah" banner for today's kick off of the Kinetic Grand Championship race. - THADEUS GREENSON
  • Thadeus Greenson
  • The McKinley statue was shrouded in a "Justice for Josiah" banner for today's kick off of the Kinetic Grand Championship race.
The thousands of people who descended on the Arcata Plaza this morning to watch the Kinetic Grand Championship race begin were greeted by an unusual sight.

The McKinley statue in the plaza’s center — the source of months of public debate — was shrouded in a white sheet painted with the words “Justice for Josiah” in red paint. It’s unclear who shrouded the statue in protest but no efforts were being made to remove it as the race kicked off.

The kind of dual protest comes on the heels of Thursday night’s dialogue on race in Arcata, where much of the conversation focused on the April 15, 2017, stabbing death of David Josiah Lawson, a 19-year-old Humboldt State University sophomore whose killing remains unsolved more than a year later. And the shrouding of the McKinley statue can be seen as its own protest, as well, as since the Arcata City Council voted Feb. 21 to remove the statute amid a public outcry a group of citizens has been circulating a petition seeking to rescind the council’s decision and put the matter before city voters in November.
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Nationwide Morphine Shortage Impacting Local Hospitals

Posted By on Sat, May 26, 2018 at 8:18 AM

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Local healthcare providers have been struggling to supply patients with injectable morphine, according to representatives from St. Joseph, Mad River and Jerold  Phelps hospitals.

“This is a very multi-faceted topic, not limited to opiates alone,” Terry Lerma, director of pharmacy services at St. Joseph Hospital told the Journal. “Most of the nation has been grappling with a series of critical medications shortages for two years.”

National news coverage of the issue cites an unfortunate confluence of several factors, including natural disasters that have slowed manufacture of some products and stronger restrictions on opiate production in response to a nationwide addiction crisis. Lerma said that all of these factors, as well as a shortage of the raw materials necessary to create the medication – specifically raw opium produced in Afghanistan and Pakistan – have impacted hospital pharmacies.


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Friday, May 25, 2018

CHP, State Parks Officer Rescue Kidnapped Woman

Posted By on Fri, May 25, 2018 at 11:38 AM

John Luther Leslie - HUMBOLDT COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
  • Humboldt County Sheriff's Office
  • John Luther Leslie
A Eureka man is in custody after allegedly kidnapping a woman and evading law enforcement officers. According to a press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office, John Luther Leslie, 35, forced a woman he had been dating to leave her Eureka home early Wednesday evening and drove her north to Trinidad.

The woman made an emergency call at 6 p.m. but was disconnected. She later told officers that Leslie had assaulted her several days prior and "made several threats towards the victim’s life and assaulted her multiple times as they traveled north."


Dispatchers were trying to trace the distress call when a State Parks officer called to report a woman screaming for help from a vehicle on Patrick's Point Drive in Trinidad. Leslie fled from the State Parks officer "in excess of 100 miles per hour."

Deputies and the California Highway Patrol responded, with CHP officers eventually locating and stopping the vehicle on the 400 block of Sixth Avenue in Westhaven. Leslie was detained and booked into the Humboldt County jail on charges of kidnapping, false imprisonment, domestic violence, attempted murder, damaging a wireless device to prevent calling law enforcement for assistance, assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm, threats to commit a crime, intimidating/threatening a witness and torture. His bail has been set at $500,000.

Leslie's arrest comes three weeks after Sharral “Sherry” McDonald was fatally shot in a Eureka home while trying to stop Ronald Allen Crossland, a convicted felon with a long criminal history that included domestic violence, from kidnapping another woman.

Crossland later died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot as police closed in on the Fortuna trailer park that he fled to after the shooting.

From the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office:

On May 23, 2018, at about 6 p.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Communications Center received a 911 call from a distressed female stating she was being held against her will. The line was disconnected and dispatchers’ attempts to reconnect with the female were unsuccessful.

As dispatchers worked to determine the location of this distress call, the Emergency Communications Center received a call from a State Parks officer advising he was flagged down by a female screaming for help from a vehicle in the area of Patrick’s Point Drive in Trinidad. The vehicle fled from the officer in excess of 100 miles per hour.

Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the area to attempt to locate the vehicle. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) was called to assist. At about 7:40 p.m., officers with the CHP located and stopped the vehicle on the 400 block of 6th Ave. in Westhaven. The driver of the vehicle, 35-year old John Luther Leslie of Eureka, was detained.

Upon further investigation, deputies learned that Leslie was in a dating relationship with the female victim and had assaulted her several days prior to this incident. In the early evening hours of May 23, Leslie forced the victim to leave their Eureka residence with him and began to drive northbound on Highway 101. Leslie made several threats towards the victim’s life and assaulted her multiple times as they traveled north. During this time, Leslie impeded the victim’s attempts to call law enforcement.

John Leslie was arrested and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on the following charges: kidnapping, false imprisonment, domestic violence, attempted murder, damaging a wireless device to prevent calling law enforcement for assistance, assault with a deadly weapon other than a firearm, threats to commit a crime, intimidating/threatening a witness and torture. His bail is set at $500,000 per California law.

Anyone with information about this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at (707) 445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at (707) 268-2539. 
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State Steps in Amid Surge in HIV Cases

Posted By on Fri, May 25, 2018 at 10:41 AM

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The California Department of Public Health is stepping in amid a dramatic rise in newly diagnosed HIV cases in Humboldt County and officials believe there are at least 35 people in the community who may not be aware they have been exposed and may be infected, according to a Department of Health and Human Services release.

The state has sent two communicable disease specialists to aid in the outbreak’s investigation with the hope of heading off a public health crisis like one that occurred in Indiana in 2015, becoming one of the worst HIV epidemics in U.S. history.

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